A nearly 14-foot oarfish has washed ashore in California, the second in a week. The carcass of the formidable "sea serpent" landed in Oceanside, Calif., attracting a sizeable crowd before it was removed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA.
The oarfish, Regalecus glesne, measured 13 1/2 feet, smaller than the 18-foot oarfish carcass that was found off Catalina Island on Sunday, Oct. 13. This latest oarfish visitation occurred on Oct. 18 at approximately 5 p.m. local time, reports U-T San Diego.
Oarfish are deep-sea fish, so it's unclear why two large creatures have been found so close to the shore. Sightings of this species are quite rare, and can usually be found at depths reaching 3,000 feet, notes U-T San Diego. One of the responding officers, Mike Bussey, described the oarfish as "pretty neat."
The first oarfish was discovered by Jasmine Santana, a marine-science instructor, as she was snorkeling on Sunday. She pulled the 18-foot carcass ashore with the help of staffers from the Catalina Island Marine Institute. The oarfish's rarity may explain some sea-serpent sightings as well as reports of "mutant fish," as was the case of the large fish that washed ashore in Spain in August.
In June, researchers were able to take video images of an 8-foot oarfish (considered small since the fish can grow to 50 feet in length). Unlike other species, Oarfish have a tendency to hang vertically in the ocean in order to scan for food. Tissue samples of the first oarfish carcass, believed to have died of natural causes, were sent to University of California at Santa Barbara.