In a Surprise, Giant Sunfish Washes Ashore in California

'Hoodwinker' species wasn't thought to be around there
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 1, 2019 4:10 PM CST
In a Surprise, Rare Sunfish Washes Ashore in California
In this photo, provided by UC Santa Barbara, a hoodwinker sunfish is seen on the beach at Coal Oil Point Reserve in Santa Barbara, Calif.   (Thomas Turner, UC Santa Barbara via AP)

A big sea creature that washed ashore in Southern California has been identified as a hoodwinker sunfish, a recently identified rare species thought to live only in the Southern Hemisphere. The University of California, Santa Barbara, says the fish was spotted last week at Sands Beach in the university's Coal Oil Point Natural Reserve. An intern alerted a reserve staffer, who initially thought it was a type of local sunfish, per the AP.

She posted photos to the reserve's Facebook page, which drew the attention of a university professor who examined the fish and posted photos to the iNaturalist online community. That caught the eye of Marianne Nyegaard of Murdoch University in Australia, who identified the species in 2017, and the confirmation was made. So is the fish a stray wanderer or the sign of a local population? That remains unclear, reports CNN, which has a lengthy story on the discovery.

(More fish stories.)

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