Scientific NameChevus chasus
IdentificationLand shark (and incapacitated victim). South Fork American River, near Placerville, CA. October 22, 2011. Photo by Dave Giordano.
- Large body size – up to 6 feet (2 m) SL
- Gray body color
- Heterocercal tail
- Small beady eyes
- Row of large, pointed white teeth on top and bottom of mouth
- May be accompanied by suspenseful, pulsing, threatening music
This fictional fish was first identified in 1975, with several other sightings in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and one report from 2001. The land shark is native to the eastern United States, and is most often observed late on Saturday nights in New York City, although it occasionally makes appearances in Los Angeles, California. More rarely, it appears in television newsrooms or on airplanes. In October 2011 there was a rare sighting of a land shark along the South Fork American River, near Placerville, California.
The land shark usually inhabits urban areas, where it preys mainly upon young women, although it has also been known to attack bespectacled marine biologists and crusty sea captains. This is a very clever fish that is capable of disguising its voice and ringing doorbells. It may pretend to be a plumber or a dolphin, or to be delivering a telegram, candygram, or flowers. It has been known to strike on Hallowe’en, impersonating a trick-or-treater and purporting to be collecting money for charity.
It is not clear how this shark reproduces, since it has a habit of eating its potential mates.
Links to Other Research
We continue to be on the lookout for land sharks during our fieldwork for other projects. Please report any sightings to the webmaster. If a land shark is sighted, members of the public should exercise caution in approaching the fish. As the photo above shows, even a highly trained wizard may be no match for a land shark.
WatershedN / A
Please note, watersheds are at the USGS 8-digit Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC) scale, so they often include a lot of sub-watersheds. If a species occurs in any sub-watershed within the HUC, the species appears within the HUC. Link to an EPA page that shows HUCs.