The unusual fish, introduced to us in Pixar’s movie Searching for Nemo – from which Marilyn and Dory fled – usually found thousands of feet deep in the ocean, as it hits the shore in the Marine Protected Area of Crystal Cove State Park, in Laguna Beach, California Last Friday.
The park shared photos of the fish on social media and likely knew her as A. Hemantulus sagamius (Known as the “Pacific football fish” or angler fish).
“Seeing the fisherman’s fish intact is very rare and it is not known how or why the fish ended up on the shore,” he said in a Facebook post.
Pacific Football Fish is one of more than 300 species of monkfish worldwide, according to California State Parks, and is usually found in the dark depths of the ocean. Given the size of the animal and the “flashlight” projecting from the top of the head, California state parks consider it a female.
The bather who found the animal said he knew, at first, that it was an “extraordinary find,” says The guardian, Stressing, “I’ve never seen a fish with this look.”
Researchers are pleased to be able to study these species, which usually live in dark underwater vacuoles about 3000 feet from the surface and are rarely recovered from the depths, especially in these “intact” conditions.
Once frozen, California State Park officials called the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History so it could be taken into their collection. They say the museum only includes three other specimens in its collection, but only one from California and none of them are in good condition.
Although their prickly teeth appear very menacing, they are mostly used to catch prey that are attracted by a fluorescent lamp – which shines underwater with the help of light-emitting bacteria.
This is in the case of females, because the males are much smaller and are “sexual parasites” – they merge with the females and lose all of their internal organs except for the transcriptionists, allowing the females to reproduce in exchange for food.
In the Azores archipelago, in 2016, scientists were able to observe the breeding of two “soccer fish” for the first time. The images captured by the researchers allow to see how the female “sucks” the male during the procedure.
According to a report on this fish published by the New York Times in 2019, the first was found in 1833, after one of them hit the coast in Greenland. Since then, most of the knowledge gathered about these animals has come from the few dead specimens that somehow ended up on Earth. In recent years, researchers have been able to observe them on their lands.
“Seeing this strange and wonderful fish is a testament to the diversity of marine life that lurks under the water …”, as reported in the Crystal Cove State Park post.