Oarfish Found off California Coast

Texas icon Bum Phillips

A Rare giant oarfish found by snorkeler off Californian coast.

The carcass of a massive, eel-like creature thought to have inspired tales of giant sea serpents has been found by a California marine instructor on a leisurely weekend snorkel.The carcass of a massive, eel-like creature thought to have inspired tales of giant sea serpents has been found by a  Catalina Island Marine Institute instructor during a leisurely weekend snorkel.

 Jasmine Santana spotted the 5.5-metre oarfish, which is as thick as a man’s torso, while snorkeling in clear waters off the island’s coast on Sunday afternoon, the institute said.

Oarfish are found in all temperate to tropical waters, but Oar Fish foundon Catalina Islandbecause they dive to depths of almost one kilometre they are rarely seen, and remain largely unstudied.

“Jasmine Santana was shocked to see (a) half-dollar sized eye staring at her from the sandy bottom,” the institute said in a statement.

“Her first reaction was to approach with caution, until she realised that it was dead.”

What is an oarfish

Oarfish have a crest running the length of their bodies and a skeleton of bone rather than cartilage common to fish species like sharks.

Woman finds oarfishBecause of their strange appearance, they are believed to have inspired legends of giant sea serpents.

It took a group of 15 adults to pull the fish’s massive carcass to the shore.

The body of the fish appeared almost perfectly intact.

The institute sent tissue samples and video footage to a University of California fish expert, and is awaiting a final determination on the species.

A spokesman for Guided Discoveries, the educational non-profit which operates programs on Catalina Island, says the sea creature’s skeleton will likely be put on display for visitors.

Qarfish:  A very long, narrow, silvery marine fish of deep water, with a deep red dorsal fin running the length of the body .  The oarfish is the longest bony fish alive and can grow up to a mammoth 17 meters in length. Its name presumably comes from either its compressed and elongated body, or the now discredited belief the fish rows itself through the water with its pelvic fins. Its habit of lingering at the surface when sick or ding makes the oarfish a source of sea serpent tales

   Oarfish or ‘Sea Monster’ Smelly Carcass Found on Beach in Spain

 A long, smelly carcass that washed up on the Spanish coast may never be conclusively identified — but experts say it sure looks like the remains of a Oarfish on a beach in Spaingiant oarfish or thresher shark.

A beachgoer stumbled upon the head of the 13-foot-long beast on Luis Siret Beach in the Andalusian village of Villaricos, according to NBC News.

The latest in a string of “sea serpent” stories has sparked an online buzz in the past few days, thanks to the gnarly-looking pictures that surfaced in the Spanish press last week. The carcass washed up on Luis Siret Beach in the Andalusian village of Villaricos, according to the local publication Ideal, and sparked jokes about the Loch Ness monster and mutant fish.

“A lady found one part, and we helped her retrieve the rest,” Civil Protection coordinator Maria Sanchez was quoted as saying. “We have no idea what it was. It really stank, as it was in the advanced stages of decomposition.”

The Europa Press quoted a coordinator of the group, Francisco Toledano, as saying that any identification would have to be made on the basis of the images — because the decomposing remains were buried by sand.

Toledano said the preliminary analysis suggests that the 13-foot-long (4-meter-long) carcass came from a “species of fish,” but he wasn’t more specific. Almeria24h.com said some experts speculated that the creature could be a thresher shark (also known as fox shark, Alopias vulpinus, or “peje zorro” in Spanish). Such sharks have a distinctive caudal fin that can stretch out as long as the shark’s body itself.

“It’s hard to tell,” David Shiffman, a University of Miami shark researcher who blogs about marine biology on Southern Fried Science, told NBC News in a Twitter exchange, “but the official guess that it could be a thresher shark seems plausible.”

Behind Blondie Park

About the Oarfish

Oarfish are large, greatly elongated, pelagic Lampriform fishes comprising the small family Regalecidae.  Found in all temperate to tropical oceans yet rarely seen, the oarfish family contains four species in two genera. One of these, the king of herrings (Regalecus glesne), is the longest bony fish alive, at up to 17 metres (56 ft) in length.

The common name oarfish is presumably in reference to either their highly compressed and elongated bodies, or to the former (but now discredited) belief that the fish “row” themselves through the water with their pelvic fins.  The family name Regalecidae is derived from the Latin regalis, meaning “royal”. The occasional beachings of oarfish after storms, and their habit of lingering at the surface when sick or dying, make oarfish a probable source of many sea serpent tales.

Although the larger species are considered game fish and are (to a minor extent) fished commercially, oarfish are rarely caught alive; their flesh is not well regarded due to its gelatinous consistency.  Read more here

Behind Blondie Park

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