Troy Tinney of Encinitas was near his home at East Cape, not far from Rancho Leonero when he discovered a foundered oarfish near the beach. It was large, but nowhere near as large as the species can get (up to 55 feet!), and dying, as nearly all deep-sea fishes are, when they‚Äôre discovered at the surface. The event took place in May of 2007. Troy got some of the best photos we‚Äôve ever seen of an oarfish, so we pass them on to you.
There are four species of oarfish, found in temperate and tropical oceans. Wikipedia describes their flesh as gelatinous, and ‚Äú‚Ä¶not well regarded.‚Äù The scientific name for the family is Regalecidae, from the Latin for royal. They are all thought to feed on zooplankton, and in turn are preyed upon by animals like sharks.
Oarfish are rarely if ever seen in the daylight, and even more rarely observed in their natural habitat. They live in depths up to 3,000 feet. There was a report of an oarfish hanging vertically in the water, perhaps looking for food below.
The beautiful marking seen on this fish are like those found on many gamefish and denizens of the deep; they fade quickly after the animal dies. This one had been bitten on the tail, and may bear the marks of other attacks. It was taken to Palmas de Cortez for study.