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Biggest oarfish EVER: Latest specimen washed ashore on Catalina Island was at least 24 feet long

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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
8/19/2015 (4 years ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

Fish found with tail severed off, which oarfish do to conserve energy

Oarfish, deep-sea denizens, have been washing up on the resort island of Catalina Island with surprising frequency. Oarfish washed up there June of 2013 - and now, a dead oarfish full of krill washed up there again on Monday. Experts say the more recent specimen is the largest to appear on the island in years.

Oarfish washed up onshore on California's coasts in recent years are believed to have been sick, disoriented because of a storm or even responding to underwater seismic activity.

Oarfish washed up onshore on California's coasts in recent years are believed to have been sick, disoriented because of a storm or even responding to underwater seismic activity.

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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
8/19/2015 (4 years ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: Oarfish, Catalina Island, conservancy, scientists


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Annie MacAulay, a marine biologist and president of Mountain and Sea Educational Adventures says the specimen probably weighed from 150 to 200 pounds and was 24 feet long while alive.

MacAulay, who dissected the fish earlier this week, noted that the oarfish was discovered early Monday morning at Pebbly Beach near Avalon. The fish's tail was severed off, something oarfish have been known to do to shed weight and save energy.


About 15 1/2 feet when it washed ashore, because of its girth, MacAulay and her colleagues guess it was about nine feet longer with the tail.

The oarfish species are known to swim far out in the ocean and at great depths, around 3,000 feet. Human sightings of the elusive creatures are very rare. The first sighting of a live oarfish was in 2001. Scientists think they could be the source for sea serpent legends.

Oarfish are the world's biggest bony fish and have been rumored to grow up to 50 feet in length, MacAulay said.

The one found this week had an empty pocket in its stomach. MacAulay says this could mean it recently stopped eating, a potential sign of distress or sickness.


Oarfish washed up onshore on California's coasts in recent years are believed to have been sick, disoriented because of a storm or even responding to underwater seismic activity.

"That's why we're doing our due diligence," MacAulay said. "There's so little known about oarfish. They only come to shore when they're going to die."

Besides krill, oarfish also feed on shrimp and other small fish.

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