Beachgoer Finds Oarfish on New Zealand Seashore

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oarfish
Courtesy of Craig Nagy (Flickr CC0)

A beachgoer found an oarfish on a New Zealand seashore on April 25, 2022. Marine biologist Dr. Bridie Allan, of the University of Otago, noticed Isaac Williams investigating something in the shallow waters and went to check it out.

She instantly knew it was an oarfish the moment she saw it. Dr. Allan shared a video of the rare, giant serpent-like creature on Twitter. Normally people only see the creature in the deep waters of the ocean.

oarfish
Courtesy of Edmund (Flickr CC0)

In the video, people can see the deep-sea dweller lurking in the shallow waters. Williams can be heard exclaiming, “Woah, it feels like a shark. It feels like a dolphin thing, look how long it is.” The oarfish’s gills can be seen flapping as it struggled for air.

To see the creature floating in the shallow waters of Aramoana Beach was not a good sign, stated Dr. Allan. The nearly 12-foot fish was clinging to life when it was discovered.

Williams attempted to help the oarfish swim, however, the creature kept floating to the surface. There are some deepwater canyons off the coast of Otago, however, it is unclear if the fish came from them.

“This is about the fifth sighting in New Zealand,” said Dr. Allen.

Oarfish are known as the longest bony fish in the world. They are found in the deep waters of the eastern Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.

To move around they move their pelvic fins in a circular motion, hence the name oarfish. They are also known as King of Herrings because their dorsal fin resembles a crown.

These carnivores eat zooplanktons, shrimps, and small fishes. Oarfish can lay up to 300 eggs and weigh as much as 600 pounds. They can reach lengths of 26 to 36 feet.

A 16-foot oarfish was found off the coast of California in 2013. Two years later a couple of Catalina Island Conservancy researchers located a 13-foot one in California. An oarfish was found in New Jersey in 1963. It was rumored to have been 49 feet long.

Written Sheena Robertson

Sources:

NDTV: Viral Video: Extremely Rare, Giant Serpent-Like Creature Washes Ashore In New Zealand

Newsweek: Extremely Rare, Serpent-like Creature From the Deep Washes up on Beach; by Robyn White

Kidadl: 15 Fin-tastic Facts About The Oarfish For Kids

Top and Featured Image Courtesy of Craig Nagy’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

Inline Image Courtesy of Edmund’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

 

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