Posted by: Craig Woolheater on April 11th, 2014
Rare Video Shows “Sea Serpent” Oarfish in Shallow Water
Bizarre deep-sea oarfish are filmed off Baja California.
A pair of rarely seen, bizarre deep-sea creatures, thought to have been the inspiration for historic tales of “sea serpents,” were captured on a video (see above) posted online Monday.
The footage, filmed by staff from Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, shows two giant oarfish (Regalecus glesne) swimming near a beach in shallow water in Baja, California.
“It was one of the most stunningly beautiful fish I’ve ever seen,” says Tim Binder, vice president of collection and planning for the Shedd Aquarium, who recorded much of the video. It was shot in early March in a remote area north of La Paz, near Isla San Francisco.
The giant oarfish is the world’s longest bony fish and can reach a length of 56 feet (17 meters) and weigh up to 600 pounds (270 kilograms). The fish had bright silver patterns with blue spots and a dramatic crown. “They had an undulating way of swimming; it was very graceful,” says Binder.
Beached and Expired
Binder says the fish swam around for 20 to 30 minutes. “They just kept trying to beach themselves,” Binder says. Eventually, they did flop up on the beach; after that, “it didn’t take long for them to expire.”
Because of their large size, and because the trip was not a collecting expedition—it was an ecotourism expedition for aquarium members—Binder’s team were not able to take the specimens for study.
Although the behavior has been documented before, scientists can’t explain why the fish beached themselves. Such beachings are most common in areas near upwellings of water from the deep. The area where the oarfish were recorded fits that description, Binder says.
Still, the odds of being on this remote beach at that moment were negligible, and the chance encounter provided, he says, “quite a spectacular opportunity.”
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad, Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.