Serpent-like Oarfish Washed Up On Catalina


Photo by REUTERS/TylerDvorak/Catalina Island Conservancy
Photo by REUTERS/TylerDvorak/Catalina Island Conservancy

With the latest in the Jurassic Park franchise hitting theaters later this month, perhaps it was ominous   fitting that a prehistoric-looking creature has washed ashore off Catalina Island in Southern California. An oarfish was spotted by bird surveyors.

Here’s Reuters with more:

Amy Catalano said she and a co-worker at the Catalina Island Conservancy were conducting a bird survey on Monday and standing on a bluff when they spotted the long body of the creature on the island’s shore below.

“It was amazing, it felt like a movie prop, it looked make-believe almost,” she said.

Oarfish are of interest to scientists because they live in a largely unknown ecosystem of the oceanic mesopelagic zone, the part of the ocean that is about 660 to 3,280 feet (200 to 1,000 meters) below the surface.

This oarfish measured about 13.5 feet (4.1 meters) long, said Catalano, a conservation coordinator who said she believes the fish had washed ashore only minutes before the discovery. The serpent-like creatures can grow to be more than 20 feet (6 meters) long, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Oarfish were also spotted off the Southern California coast in 2013. There hasn’t been a Loch Ness monster buzz associated with these sightings, but who knows? Perhaps we’ll have our own “Nessie” legend soon.