Yes, that strange alien-looking sea critter washed ashore near Santa Barbara. Here’s more from NPR:
What researchers initially thought was a common sunfish turned out to be a recently discovered species, thought to live almost entirely in the Southern Hemisphere. This one was in Santa Barbara — much further north than anyone expected to find it. https://t.co/MXEKoHtHsI
— NPR (@NPR) March 1, 2019
The more common Mola mola ocean sunfish is known to swim in the Santa Barbara Channel. The hoodwinker has only been found in the Southern Hemisphere, aside from just one known example that washed up in the Netherlands in 1889.
Thomas Turner, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, heard from a colleague last week about what they thought was a dead Mola mola that had washed up at UCSB’s Coal Oil Point Reserve.
“I went down there with my family, my young 4-year-old son and my wife, as soon as I got off work to just check it out because I wanted him to get to see a Mola mola up close,” Turner told NPR.
— CBS 6 Albany – WRGB (@CBS6Albany) March 3, 2019