Serpent-like sea creature found off California

Serpent-like sea creature found off California

Posted: Updated:
A marine science instructor snorkeling off the Southern California coast spotted something out of a fantasy novel: the silvery carcass of an 18-foot-long, serpent-like oarfish.

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

"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."

Because oarfish dive more than 3,000 feet deep, sightings of the creatures are rare and they are largely unstudied, according to 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 30 feet deep while snorkeling during a staff trip in Toyon Bay at Santa Catalina Island, about two dozen miles from the mainland.

"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 75 feet, staffers waded in and helped her bring it to shore.

The carcass was on display Tuesday for 5th, 6th, and 7th grade 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 50 feet, is a deep-water pelagic fish - the longest bony fish in the world, according to CIMI.
They are likely responsible for sea serpent legends throughout history.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Spike in "Spice" Leads to Deaths, Illnesses

    Spike in "Spice" Leads to Deaths, Illnesses

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 6:58 PM EDT2014-04-22 22:58:46 GMT
    Mobile police are investigating two deaths and an unusual increase in illnesses from using synthetic marijuana, also known as "Spice."
    Mobile police are investigating two deaths and an unusual increase in illnesses from using synthetic marijuana, also known as "Spice."
  • Mobile County Woman Killed For Talking To Police

    Mobile County Woman Killed For Talking To Police

    Monday, April 21 2014 5:56 PM EDT2014-04-21 21:56:08 GMT

    Six years after a mother from Mobile County went missing; one of two men goes on trial for her murder. Authorities say Tammy Stokes was killed because she was a “snitch.”

    Six years after a mother from Mobile County went missing; one of two men goes on trial for her murder. Authorities say Tammy Stokes was killed because she was a “snitch.”


  • Are Health Issues Connected to BP Oil Spill?

    Are Health Issues Connected to BP Oil Spill?

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 7:26 PM EDT2014-04-22 23:26:34 GMT
    Four years after the BP oil spill and health concerns are still an issue for many. Rashes, respiratory ailments, burning of the skin and eyes, all symptoms that have many asking if it's because of the oil spill clean up.
    Four years after the BP oil spill and health concerns are still an issue for many. Rashes, respiratory ailments, burning of the skin and eyes, all symptoms that have many asking if it's because of the oil spill clean up.
Powered by WorldNow

555 Broadcast Dr,
Mobile AL 36606

Telephone: 251.479.5555
Fax: 251.473.8130
Email: news5@wkrg.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.