Photos: Second Rare Oarfish Washes Ashore In Catalina Within Months
Another rare oarfish has washed up on the shores of Catalina Island, less than three months since the last one, and this one was a whopping 14-feet long.
Annie MacAulay, the president and CEO of Mountain and Sea Adventures—a nonprofit environmental summer camp for kids—tells LAist that her employee, who lives on a boat in Pebbly Beach in Avalon, spotted the male oarfish and gave her a call around 7:30 a.m. on Monday. She rushed out there and took photos of long, slinky, silvery fish.
MacAulay told the Daily Breeze that while the oarfish was measured at about 14-feet-long, it looks like it was missing a tail, which would have made it even longer—at an additional five to seven feet. When it was alive, it estimated to have weighed about 150 to 200 pounds. According to the OC Register, the creature's tail was self-amputated, something the oarfish do to lose weight and increase their metabolism.
Misty Paig-Tran, a marine biologist and assistant professor of biology at Cal State Fullerton, told the Daily Breeze that she believes the creature wasn't sick when he was alive. "My observation was that all of the stranded oarfish have washed up intact and with no bruising or other trauma," she said. "In fact, this male oarfish that washed up yesterday had a belly full of krill—a good sign that the fish was otherwise healthy before he died.
This isn't the first oarfish that MacAulay, who's been operating her company for the last 18 years, has gotten an up close and personal look at. Back in June, she also discovered a female, 13-foot oarfish, which was also dead and pregnant with over 100 million eggs, in Catalina while she was taking kids on educational kayaking tour of the island. In 2013, one was found off the coast of Catalina Island, and another within the same week in Oceanside Harbor. Another serpentine oarfish washed ashore in Malibu in 2010.
"It's so unusual that all these years I don't see any oarfish, and then have seen two in the last few months," MacAulay said.
Oarfish are rarely seen, dead or alive, and are the world's longest bony fish. Since they're known to be able to dive as deep at 3,000 feet underwater, they're a rare find, and there haven't been a ton of scientific studies on them. Back in the day, mariners who did spot them mistook them for sea serpents.
Here are some more photos of the oarfish most recently found:
Checking out the oarfish (Photo courtesy of Annie MacAulay/Mountain and Sea Adventures)
People posing with the oarfish (Photo courtesy of Annie MacAulay/Mountain and Sea Adventures)