KEY POINTS

  • A beachgoer found a rare creature on the shore of a California beach
  • Its body is now with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • It is expected to be used for research and educational purposes

A rare fish with a football-shaped body and transparent needle-like teeth was washed ashore on a California beach.

The fish has tiny eyes, prickly black-colored skin and a stalk on the head that mimics seaweed.

Ben Estes, a beachgoer, spotted the creature Friday on the shore of Crystal Cove State Park's Marine Protected Area (MPA) in Newport Beach, Southern California, CBS Los Angeles reported.

The 18-inch creature is called the Pacific Football Fish. It is one of the members of the Anglerfish family that has close to 200 species of its kind across the world. It is generally found at a depth of 2,000 to 3000 feet, making it quite a rare find for Estes.

This scary-looking fish can swallow prey that's as big as its own body.

California beaches are empty during the state's coronavirus lockdown, a far cry from the weekend before when thousands ignored the governor's orders and headed outside Photo: AFP / Robyn Beck

Crystal Cove State Park shared the discovery on its official Facebook page Monday. The said post also provided some interesting facts about the creature. "Only females possess a long stalk on the head with bioluminescent tips used as a lure to entice prey in the darkness of waters as deep as 3,000 feet!" the post read.

"Males latch onto the female with their teeth and become 'sexual parasites,' eventually coalescing with the female until nothing is left of their form but their testes for reproduction," it said further.

"Seeing this strange and fascinating fish is a testament to the diversity of marine life lurking below the water’s surface in California’s MPAs and as scientists continue to learn more about these deep-sea creatures it’s important to reflect on how much is still to be learned from our wonderful ocean," the post concluded.

It is not known how the fish ended up on the shore or why it was close to the shoreline. But with ocean temperature rising, more rarely sighted sea creatures are ending up on shores around the world.

Due to the rarity of the find, the body of the fish has been turned over to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and is expected to be used for research and educational purposes, according to CNN