Rare fish that lives in complete darkness washes ashore on Oregon beach

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A rare deep-sea fish that lives in complete darkness washed ashore in Oregon for what’s believed to be the first-time ever, according to the Seaside Aquarium.

Beachcombers found the angler fish, also called a Pacific football fish, just south of Cannon Beach, the aquarium announced on Saturday, May 18.

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The aquarium said that “only 31 specimens have been recorded around the world” in places like New Zealand, Japan, Russia, Hawaii, Ecuador, Chile, and California. But it believes this is the first time a Pacific football fish has been reported along the Oregon coast.

  • A deep-sea angler fish, also known as a Pacific football fish, was found near Cannon Beach. It may be the first time ever this fish has been spotted along the Oregon coast. May 18, 2024 (Seaside Aquarium)
    A deep-sea angler fish, also known as a Pacific football fish, was found near Cannon Beach. It may be the first time ever this fish has been spotted along the Oregon coast. May 18, 2024 (Seaside Aquarium)
  • A deep-sea angler fish, also known as a Pacific football fish, was found near Cannon Beach. It may be the first time ever this fish has been spotted along the Oregon coast. May 18, 2024 (Seaside Aquarium)
    A deep-sea angler fish, also known as a Pacific football fish, was found near Cannon Beach. It may be the first time ever this fish has been spotted along the Oregon coast. May 18, 2024 (Seaside Aquarium)
  • A deep-sea angler fish, also known as a Pacific football fish, was found near Cannon Beach. It may be the first time ever this fish has been spotted along the Oregon coast. May 18, 2024 (Seaside Aquarium)
    A deep-sea angler fish, also known as a Pacific football fish, was found near Cannon Beach. It may be the first time ever this fish has been spotted along the Oregon coast. May 18, 2024 (Seaside Aquarium)

These fish live 2,000 to 3,300 feet deep in the ocean, and they “use light that shines from a phosphorescent bulb on their forehead to attract prey,” according to the aquarium.

The males are 10 times smaller than females. They lose their eyes and their internal organs and get all their nutrients from the females, like a parasite.

“In return, they provide females with a steady source of sperm,” the aquarium said, adding that it’s still unknown how these male fish are able to find the females in complete darkness.

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