News

Rare 18-foot fish found off coast of California

Rare 18-foot fish found off coast of California

BIG FISH: An 18-foot long Oarfish was found off the coast of California. Photo: Reuters

By Tim Gaynor

(Reuters) – A California marine instructor’s leisurely weekend snorkel turned into the discovery of a lifetime when she found the carcass of a massive, eel-like creature of a species thought to have inspired legends of giant sea serpents.

Catalina Island Marine Institute instructor Jasmine Santana spotted the 18-foot 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.

The creatures are found in all temperate to tropical waters, but because they dive to depths of 3,000 feet, they are rarely seen and remain largely unstudied. Little is known about their behavior, the nonprofit educational institute said.

“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 realized that it was dead.”

Oarfish have a pug face, a crest running the length of their bodies and a skeleton of bone rather than cartilage common to fish species like sharks. They can grow up to a length of 56 feet. Because 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 up the beach to a better viewing area, the institute said. Its longest serving employee, Mark Johnson, could not believe his eyes. “In 32 years here,” he said. “I have never seen anything like this!”

The body of the fish appeared almost perfectly intact. The institute sent tissue samples and video footage to a University of California at Santa Barbara fish expert, and is awaiting a final determination on the species.

A spokesman for Guided Discoveries, the educational nonprofit that operates programs on Catalina Island, said the sea creature’s skeleton will likely be put on display for visitors.

Latest News

4 hours ago in Local, Surrounding Counties

House Okays Use Of Electric Chair

gray ricky-javon

The House of Delegates has approved legislation that would let prison officials execute inmates in the electric chair if lethal injection drugs are not available.

5 hours ago in Albemarle County, Election, Local, Surrounding Counties, Virginia Assembly

Amended Threshold For Reckless Driving

Updated
29 north at Hydraulic

The State Senate has approved a bill that prevents drivers from being charged with reckless driving if they're going only 11 miles above the speed limit.

5 hours ago in Local, Surrounding Counties

Judge Will Decide Fate Of Ashley White

Thomas Noah (sent to us) 032615 CC

A judge will determine the fate of Ashley White of Pulaski County, who was arrested after her young son was found dead in a septic tank.

5 hours ago in Albemarle County, Charlottesville City, Local, Surrounding Counties, UVA, Virginia Assembly

House Approves Weapons Related Bills

Updated
HandgunSample

The House of Delegates has approved three bills that are part of a compromise worked out by Governor McAuliffe and Republican leaders.

7 hours ago in Lifestyle, National

Twitter to change homepage to customize tweet displays to individuals

A 3D printed Twitter logo is seen in front of displayed stock graph in this illustration picture made in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, February 3, 2016. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

The change to the timeline - as the homepage is known - is also designed to appeal to advertisers.