Two-headed Prawn
A two-headed prawn has been discovered in Townsville aquarium. YouTube/BestMovies

Aquarists are baffled after discovering a bizarre two-headed prawn at a north Queensland aquarium. The crustacean nearly ended up as lunch for some sharks but was thankfully discovered by stunned staff inside a frozen food packet.

“I was counting out a few prawns and fish and I grabbed a handful prawns, and at first I thought there were two stuck together and then realised it was a prawn with two heads. I have never seen anything like this and neither has anyone else in the team,” Aquarist Laura Colton from Reef HQ Aquarium in Townsville told the ABC.

The discovery was made when Colton was preparing to feed the aquarium's baby leopard sharks. She had to make sure that it was not two prawns stuck together. Colton then checked if it was caught in the middle of a moult, “so they do shed that skeleton on the outside.”

That wasn’t the case either as the animal had two guts and two sets of legs protruding from the front part. This made Colton sure that the prawn had two heads. Reef HQ Great Barrier Reef Aquarium posted the photo of the bizarre prawn on its Facebook account.

According to James Cook University professor Dean Jerry, who is the director of Australian Research Council hub for advanced prawn breeding, chances of seeing a double-headed prawn is “extremely rare.”

“It's like seeing a two-headed cow or something like that, it may occur quite regularly during early development but these animals are very unfit and they would die eventually,” Jerry explained.

He added that he spoke to couple of farmers who roll out millions of prawns every year and they have never seen anything like this before. The professor will carrying out a genetic testing to find out how it grew two heads.

He guessed that the bizarre prawn was like a Siamese twin in mammals and humans. He believes that during egg development, it split into two but never separated completely.

“As it splits the development has continued on and there's been this fusion point between where the egg has spilt and that's been retained into later adult life,” Jerry said.

Watch the two-headed prawn here.

Source: YouTube/BestMovies