One of Ocean's Most Elusive Creatures Filmed

Clip offers close-up of 8-foot-long oarfish

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 11, 2013 8:28 AM CDT
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(Newser) – Now the world can finally get a good look at one of the ocean's more mysterious creatures, the oarfish, believed to be the longest bony fish in existence—basically, the longest fish that's not a ray or shark, LiveScience reports. While researchers were investigating the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2011, their camera came upon the fish. The result is the longest and highest-quality video of the species yet, says one of the scientists behind the video, which was posted online in tandem with a new paper last week.

Described as "shimmering" and "alien-looking" by the Los Angeles Times, the oarfish in the video measures 8 feet, though the creatures may grow six times that long. Part of their mystery is due to their habitat: far offshore, in deep waters. To wit, this one was swimming well below the surface (the LAT says 200 feet; LiveScience says it reached depths of 364 feet). The eel-like fish positions itself vertically: Its head is closer to the surface while its body droops below, the LAT notes. The video is particularly special because it seems to show a crustacean called a parasitic isopod attached to the fish's dorsal fins, something that's never been recorded before.

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