Monstrous deep water fish washes up on California shore
CNN – A fish with a nightmarish mug washed up on a California beach last week.
With teeth like glass and a football shaped body, the creature was found on the shore of Crystal Cove State Park’s Marine Protected Area in Laguna Beach. The park shared images of the fish on social media and identified it as being most likely the Pacific Football Fish.
“To see an actual angler fish intact is very rare and it is unknown how or why the fish ended up on the shore,” reads the Facebook post.
The Pacific Football Fish is one of more than 200 species of anglerfish worldwide, according to California State Parks, and is normally found in the dark depths of the ocean. The fish is capable of using its sharp teeth and gaping mouth to swallow prey the size of its own body.
Due to the creature’s size and the protruding stalk on the top of the head, California State Parks said this is a female.
“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!,” according to the Crystal Cove State Park post.
Females can grow up to 24 inches in length, while males only reach about 1 inch. The only purpose of the males is to help the female reproduce, 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,” reads the post.
The California Department of Fish & Wildlife is holding the body of the fish to be studied for research and educational purposes.
“Seeing this strange and fascinating fish is a testament to the diversity of marine life lurking below the water’s surface …,” reads the Crystal Cove State Park post. “.. 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.”
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