Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Giant sea creature amazes U.S. scientist

  • Print
The Tole Mour crew and Catalina Island Marine Institute staff display the carcass of an oarfish.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS / CATALINA ISLAND MARINE INSTITUTE Enlarge Image

The Tole Mour crew and Catalina Island Marine Institute staff display the carcass of an oarfish.

LOS ANGELES -- A marine science instructor snorkelling off the southern California coast spotted something out of a fantasy novel: the silvery carcass of a five-metre-long, serpent-like oarfish.

Jasmine Santana of the Catalina Island Marine Institute needed more than 15 helpers to drag the giant sea creature to shore on Sunday.

Staffers at the institute are calling it the discovery of a lifetime.

"We've never seen a fish this big," said Mark Waddington, senior captain of the Tole Mour, CIMI's sail training ship. "The last oarfish we saw was three feet long."

c_

Because oarfish dive more than 900 metres deep, sightings of the creatures are rare and they are largely unstudied, stated CIMI.

The obscure fish apparently died of natural causes. Tissue samples and video footage were sent to be studied by biologists at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Santana spotted something shimmering about nine metres deep while snorkelling during a staff trip in Toyon Bay at Santa Catalina Island.

"She said, 'I have to drag this thing out of here or nobody will believe me,' " Waddington said.

After she dragged the carcass by the tail for more than 23 metres, staffers waded in and helped her bring it to shore.

"It took 15 or 20 of us to pick it up," Jeff Chace, a program director with CIMI, which runs a camp at Toyon Bay that teaches children to snorkel, kayak and hike, told television station KTBC-TV.

Instructors from CIMI were unloading gear from a trip to Santa Barbara Island when they spotted Santana pulling the oarfish ashore.

"The craziest thing we saw during our two-day journey at sea happened when we got home," instructor Connor Gallagher said in a CIMI news release.

"It's one of these rare, weird things you see in southern California," Chace said of the oarfish.

The carcass was on display Tuesday for students studying at CIMI. It will be buried in the sand until it decomposes and then its skeleton will be reconstituted for display, Waddington said.

The oarfish, which can grow to more than 15 metres, is a deep-water pelagic fish -- the longest bony fish in the world, CIMI stated.

They are likely responsible for sea-serpent legends throughout history.

 

-- The Associated Press, with files from the Los Angeles Times

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 16, 2013 A10

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Key of Bart: NDP Self-Destruction

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A squirrel enjoys the morning sunshine next to the duck pond in Assiniboine Park Wednesday– June 27, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • JOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Local-(Standup photo)- Humming Around- A female ruby -throated hummingbird fly's through the bee bomb  flowers Friday at the Assiniboine Park English Garden- Nectar from flowers are their main source of food. Hummingbirds wings can beat as fast as 75x times second. Better get a glimpse of them soon the birds fly far south for the winter - from Mexico to South America- JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS- Sept 10, 2009

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Would you visit Dalnavert Museum if it reopened?

View Results

Ads by Google