A 18-foot sea creature (Oarfish) found off California Beach

A 18-foot sea creature (Oarfish) was found off the California beach

The dorsal fin originates from above the (relatively small) eyes and runs the entire length of the fish. Of the approximately 400 dorsal fin rays, the first 10 to 12 are elongated to varying degrees, forming a trailing crest embellished with reddish spots and flaps of skin at the ray tips. The pelvic fins are similarly elongated and adorned, reduced to 1 to 5 rays each. The pectoral fins are greatly reduced and situated low on the body. The anal fin is completely absent and the caudal fin may be reduced or absent as well, with the body tapering to a fine point. All fins lack true spines. At least one account, from researchers in New Zealand, describes the oarfish as giving off “electric shocks” when touched.[4]

Like other members of its order, the oarfish has a small yet highly protrusible oblique mouth with no visible teeth. The body is scaleless and the skin is covered with easily abraded, silvery guanine. In the streamer fish (Agrostichthys parkeri), the skin is clad with hard tubercles. All species lack gas bladders and the number of gill rakers is variable.

Oarfish coloration is also variable; the flanks are commonly covered with irregular bluish to blackish streaks, black dots, and squiggles. These markings quickly fade following death. The giant oarfish is by far the largest member of the family at a published total length of 11 metres (36 ft) (with unconfirmed reports of 15 metres (49 ft) or more) and 272 kilograms in weight. The streamer fish is known to reach 3 metres (9.8 ft) in length whilst the largest recorded specimen of Regalecus russelii measured just 540 centimetres standard length.

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