18-Foot Fish Discovered Off the Coast of California By Unsuspecting Snorkeler

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A woman was snorkeling off the coast of California on Sunday when she “saw the large eyes of an 18-foot fish staring back at her,” reports NPR. The creature turned out to be a 18-foot long dead oarfish lying on the ocean floor. I would not be psyched to run into this 18-foot oarfish while snorkeling, even if it was dead.

The woman who found the fish, Jasmine Santana, is an instructor at the Catalina Island Marine Institute. Santana told NPR that the ribbon-like animal’s body was “almost perfectly intact.” With the help of 15 other instructors, Santana hoisted the oarfish out of the water.

This isn’t the longest oarfish ever reported—the Florida Museum of Natural History states that a 36-foot specimen was the longest ever. Although, it is more commonly observed at lengths of approximately 10 feet (300 cm) total length. Oarfish are sometimes also called “ribbon fish” or “the king of herrings.”

Here’s another terrifying picture of a 13-foot long creature which washed up on the shore of Luis Siret Beach in Villaricos, Spain in August. According to International Science Times and other news outlets, this unidentified creature was probably an oarfish or a thresher shark. Story takeaway: oarfish are crazy long.

[via NPR]

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