Current Issue
May 2014 magazine cover
Subscribe

Save 81% off the newsstand price!

Keeping you current

A Giant Oarfish Just Washed Up in California

Every time an oarfish washes up on the beach, the world freaks out. Here's the most recent one

Oarfish model in a museum. Image: Thomas Kohler

The ocean is full of insane and wonderful creatures. There are the majestic dolphins, the mysterious squid, the beautiful corals and the super weird oarfish. And every time an oarfish washes up on the beach, the world freaks out. Here’s the most recent one:

This oarfish is 18 feet long, and it sloshed its way up onto the beach in Southern California. But it’s not the first oarfish to arise from the depths. In 2010, a 10 footer washed up in Sweden. “At first, we thought it was a giant piece of plastic,” Kurt Ove Eriksson, the man who discovered the fish told the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet. “But then we saw an eye.” In 2009, an oarfish washed up on the beach in Tyneside, on the North Eastern coast of England. Even seeing the fish alive in the wild is a strange sight. In 2010, researchers filmed the fish that normally lives thousands of feet below the surface for the first time.

This oarfish from California is the largest of the long, ribbon-like fish ever found, and it was quite a surprise to the woman who discovered it. “Jasmine Santana was shocked to see (a) half-dollar sized eye staring at her from the sandy bottom,” the Catalina Island Marine Institute said in a statement. “Her first reaction was to approach with caution, until she realized that it was dead.” Caution is probably the right way to approach an 18-foot-long fish.

More from Smithsonian.com:

Scientists’ Best Idea for Saving Endangered Fish Isn’t Really Working
Fish to Shrink in Warming Waters

Tags
About Rose Eveleth
Rose Eveleth

Rose Eveleth is a writer for Smart News and a producer/designer/ science writer/ animator based in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Scientific American, Story Collider, TED-Ed and OnEarth.

Read more from this author |

Comment on this Story

comments powered by Disqus