18-foot oarfish found off California coast-A A +A
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
LOS ANGELES -- A marine science instructor found an 18-foot-long (5-meter-long) serpent-like oarfish while snorkeling off the Southern California coast on Sunday.
Jasmine Santana, of the Catalina Island Marine Institute (CIMI), said she spotted "something shimmering" about 30 feet (nine meters) deep while snorkeling during a staff trip in Toyon Bay at Santa Catalina Island.
After Santana dragged the carcass by the tail for more than 75 feet (23 meters), more than 15 CIMI staff, who called the sea creature "the discovery of a lifetime," waded in and helped her bring it to shore.
The fish died of natural causes. Tissue samples and video footage were sent to be studied by biologists at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
"We've never seen a fish this big," said Mark Waddington, senior captain of the Tole Mour, CIMI's sail training ship. He said the last oarfish they saw was three feet long.
Waddington said the carcass will be buried in the sand until it decomposes, while its skeleton will be reconstituted for displayed.
The CIMI said the oarfish, which can grow to more than 50 feet (15 meters), is a deep-water pelagic fish, the longest bony fish in the world. (AP)