Tags: rare | oarfish | new zealand

Rare Oarfish in New Zealand Came Way Up Out of the Deep

By    |   Monday, 20 Apr 2015 07:49 AM

An oarfish washed up on a New Zealand beach late last week, offering a rare glimpse at one of the world's most bizarre creatures.

According to the Otago Daily Times (NZ), the serpent-like specimen was lifeless but in exquisite condition when Don Gibbs, a resident of Aramoana Spit in Dunedin, came upon it while hiking one of the local salt marshes.

Gibbs knew instinctively that he'd found something rare, and soon contacted the Department of Conservation (DOC) to share his discovery.

''It must have just washed up and it was very fresh. It's a very weird looking creature," said DOC service manager David Agnew, The Daily Mail reported. "Instead of scales it has this smooth skin, like tinfoil, and if you rubbed it the silver would come onto your hand.''

Agnew said he'd never seen anything like it in his 20 years at the department. He himself soon contacted the University of Otago, which confirmed its identity.

Tessa Mills of the university's Marine Studies Centre said oarfish ''are usually found in deep water in tropical temperatures but I think they do come up to feed on the surface.''

The fish can grow up to 36-feet long, swim vertically, and are known to "self-amputate," by biting off its own tail, for reasons unknown. Like whales, the oarfish eat by filtering zooplankton from the currents. Because its appearance is frightening to many, seafarers have long referenced the oarfish as a monstrous sea serpent.

The Otago Museum, which has a preserved oarfish on display, took a sample of the oarfish for examination.



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An oarfish washed up on a New Zealand beach late last week, offering a rare glimpse at one of the world's most bizarre creatures.
rare, oarfish, new zealand
263
2015-49-20
Monday, 20 Apr 2015 07:49 AM
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