A Florida couple was out strolling alongside the ocean when they discovered a strange and unidentified sea creature that had washed ashore on Delray Beach.
"It just rolled up on the beach in front of us," Carolyn Hoffman told the Palm Beach Post. "I've never seen anything shaped like that."
The fish in question, long and ribbon shaped, is most likely an oarfish, according to Palm Beach Atlantic University biology professor Ray Waldner. The oarfish is the longest of the bony fishes, commonly reaching 26 feet in length. Others have reported recovering oarfish that are as much as 56 feet in length.
Oarfish live in oceans around the world but are rarely seen in the wild, except when they are dying and swimming near the ocean's surface--or, as with the Hoffmans, when they wash ashore.
They typically live in deeper ocean waters, feeding off of plankton, jelly fish and squid. In July 2008, scientists captured video of a live oarfish. That footage recorded what experts believe had been the first confirmed sighting of a living, healthy oarfish swimming in the ocean.
Historically, the oarfish have been labeled as "sea serpents." S some historians speculate that they may be behind some of the early myths about monsters roaming the seas.
In the video below, a diver swims up to an oarfish, estimated to be 15 to 20 feet in length:
The much smaller fish found by Carolyn Hoffman and her husband Harry Furrevig is not a perfect match. But Waldner said its body most likely was beaten down by the surf.
Furrevig, a fisherman, took a photo with the fish and reportedly told his wife, "Let's fillet this and eat it." "I said no thanks," Hoffman said.
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