Monstrous-looking deep-sea fish wash up on California beach | Science
An unusual fish with teeth as sharp as glass and a body shaped like a football washed up on a California beach last week.
The creature was found gaping on the shore of the Crystal Cove State Park Marine Protected Area in Laguna Beach last Friday. the park shared images fish on social media and identified it as most likely the Pacific Football Fish.
“Seeing an actual intact angler fish is very rare and it is unknown how or why the fish ended up on shore,” the Facebook post read.
The Pacific Football Fish is one of more than 200 species of anglerfish worldwide, according to California State Parks, and is normally found in the depths of the ocean. The creature’s teeth are sharp and pointed like shards of glass, and the “large mouth is capable of sucking in and swallowing prey the size of its own body”.
Due to the creature’s size and protruding stalk on top of the head, California State Parks declared it to be female.
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“Only the females possess a long stalk on their heads with bioluminescent tips used as a lure to attract prey in the dark of waters as deep as 3,000 feet!” according to the Crystal Cove State Park post.
Females can reach lengths of 24 inches while males are only about an inch long, the post says, while the male fish’s only purpose is to help a female reproduce.
“The males latch onto the female with their teeth and become ‘sex parasites’, eventually fusing with the female until only their testicles remain of their form for reproduction,” reads the post.
The body of the fish is held by the California Department of Fish & Wildlife, according to CNN KFSN affiliate. It is expected to be studied for research and teaching purposes.
“Seeing this strange and fascinating fish is a testament to the diversity of marine life lurking below the surface of the water,” reads the post from Crystal Cove State Park, “…and as scientists continue to learning more about these deep sea creatures, it’s important to think about how much there is left to learn about our wonderful ocean.”
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