A man discovered a 'bizarre-looking' creature washed up ashore in Southern California on Friday morning, 7 May
Known as the anglerfish, this creature usually lives more than 3,000ft to 6,000ft deep in the ocean. And yes, if you're wondering, it is a species of fish similar to the one in that scene in Finding Nemo, where Marlin and Dory narrowly escape it.
Identified as an 18-inch Pacific Footballfish, beach visitor Ben Estes was the first to spot it and alert state park rangers and lifeguards at Crystal Cove State Park.
Photos captured by Estes and officials were shared by Davey’s Locker Sportfishing & Whale Watching on Facebook, receiving over 87,000 shares since Saturday.
"It's one of more than 300 living species of anglerfish from around the world. Though the fish itself is not rare, it is extremely rare to see one this intact along a beach in Southern CA," Davey's Locker wrote in its caption.
"It's not known yet why this 18" fish washed ashore almost perfectly preserved, but our partners @crystalcoveconservancy explained that it's still unclear where this rare find will end up (either with museums/ educational institutions etc), but it is currently housed with CA Department of Fish & Wildlife."
Anglerfish are known for luring in unsuspecting prey with their dangling luminescent tips that protrude from their heads
They also have sharp teeth, extremely wide mouths, and pliable bodies, which allow them to swallow prey up to twice their size.
Due to the extremely low-light areas in which they reside, footage of the anglerfish is said to be rarely captured.
In 2014, scientists with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute were able to capture remotely operated vehicle (ROV) footage of the creature, claiming it to be the "first-ever footage of a live anglerfish in its deep-sea habitat".
According to National Geographic, most anglerfish are less than 12 inches long. However, some can grow up to 3.3ft in length. Only the females have the luminescent glow tip, while the males are solely meant to look for a mate.
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