• A woman found the fish during a walk on a San Diego beach
  • The creature was identified as a football fish and lives at depths of up to 2,600 feet
  • The specimen is a mature female and will be used for genetic and isotopic research, say experts

A rare deep-sea fish looking like something out of a horror movie was found dead on the shores of San Diego.

A woman walking on the beach of Swami's Beach in Encinitas, San Diego, found the bizarre-looking creature with razor-sharp tooth washed ashore on Dec. 10. Lifeguards in the area notified the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, which collected the extremely rare anglerfish specimen for future research.

Most might prefer to stay away from the eerie-looking fish, but for ichthyologist Ben Frable, preserving the rare creature -- identified as a rare type of anglerfish called football fish -- was a "childhood dream come true."

"I first found out about anglerfish from an educational video game on Windows ’95 back in elementary school, so it's pretty exciting," Frable told KNSD.

According to Scripps, the football fish is a mature female, measuring 13 inches in length and weighing 5.5 pounds.

"As seen in the animated film Finding Nemo, female anglerfish are easily recognized by their globular body shape, sharp teeth, distinctive dorsal spine or illicium (the "fishing pole"), and the fleshy phosphorescent bulb (or esca) used to lure prey," the institution said in a Facebook post.

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The rare find is now part of only 31 known anglerfish specimens collected worldwide. Scientists with the Scripps institution have taken tissue samples of the recent specimen for genetic and isotopic analysis.

The Pacific football fish lives at a depth of 650 to 2,600 feet, making the recent discoveries of the species on California shores alarming. Since November, tides have brought in several rare deep-sea fish in the area.

In November, another football fish was found on the shorelines of San Diego, 10News reported. The fish was believed to have been pulled into the water by incoming tides. Later in the month, a deep-sea Longnose Lancetfish was found squirming in the sand of Laguna Beach in Southern California.

"Our experts don’t have any evidence to theorize why several deep-sea fish have washed ashore recently, but are interested in learning more," the Scripps Institution said.

Scripps Institution is urging the public to call experts if they come across unusual marine life.

Representation. A beach. Pixabay