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Nature & Environment Sea Serpent Again! Second Oar Fish Washes Ashore in California Mystifying Scientists

Sea Serpent Again! Second Oar Fish Washes Ashore in California Mystifying Scientists

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First Posted: Oct 21, 2013 10:32 AM EDT
California 18-Foot Giant Oarfish Had a Host of Tapeworms in its Body
California 18-Foot Giant Oarfish Had a Host of Tapeworms in its Body (Photo : Wikimedia Commons)

Another rare snakelike oarfish was discovered on a Southern California beach on Friday, making it an unusual event as this is the second oarfish spotted on-shore in less than a week.

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The massive, 14-feet-long oarfish was washed ashore on Friday afternoon in Oceanside Harbour. Due to its enormous size, the deep- water fish attracted many beach-goers and other enthusiasts.

Police officials of Oceanside immediately contacted SeaWorld San Diego, The Scripps Research Institute and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The carcass of the sea serpent was retrieved by NOAA, who cut the bony fish into several sections and packed in coolers for transport.

"We are very intrigued," Russ Vetter, director of Southwest Fisheries Science Center, told the Daily News. "This is an opportunity for... the scientific community to study different aspects of this fish that we know absolutely nothing about. We put it on our specimen freezer and we are going to dissect it on Monday morning with a group of experts. We will be very interested - if it has any stomach contents - (in) what it was eating. At first glance, it was pretty heavy so it didn't appear to be starving."

Officers at Oceanside said that they had never witnessed something so elusive and giant. They were able to recognize the specimen as a sea serpent as a similar 18-foot-oarfish carcass was found in the waters off Catalina Island earlier in the week

Marine science instructor Jasmine Santana, 26, at the Catalina Island Marine Institute had discovered the oarfish carcass. It took 20 people to drag the oarfish to the beach. The team collected tissue samples and handed it to researchers at the University of California and other universities who will look into the cause of the death.

A saber-tooth whale washed ashore in Venice. Overall, waters arond Southern California have yielded three rare specimens in less than a week.

Oarfish are a bunch of secretive marine species, they are mostly found in temperate and tropical oceans. They rarely beach themselves, only doing so when they are sick or dying. This gelatinous fish can grow up to 50 feet long and can dive to a depth of 3,000 feet. It is rarely caught alive.

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