A rare, bizarre-looking ocean fish, which marine experts say may have been the origin of some sea monster legends, washed up on the shore of a New Zealand beach recently, and then mysteriously vanished.
According to the New Zealand Marine Studies Centre and Aquarium, the nearly 10-foot-long oarfish washed ashore on the Aramoana Spit at the entrance of the Otago Harbor on April 16. The local who discovered the strange looking beast called Department of Conservation service manager David Agnew, who said it was the first time he’d ever found such a creature in his 20-year-long career.
“They are usually found in deep water in tropical temperatures but I think they do come up to feed on the surface,” University of Otago NZ Marine Studies Centre manager Tessa Mills said, which is why it was strange that it’d been found washed ashore in a cold water area.
Even stranger, the oarfish is also known to be self-amputating. Research has found that oarfish will bite off their own tails, though it’s still unknown why.
The strangest thing is, though, that the washed up oarfish vanished.
Otago Museum researchers lacked the resources to remove and preserve the oarfish’s entire carcass. Instead, they took some samples of the fish for study, and left it there. Days later, the oarfish was nowhere to be seen.
Agnew told the Otago Daily Times that it might have been washed away, or taken by someone.
Myths and legends have surrounded the oarfish, as not much is not known about it. People around the world have mistaken the massive, strange creature for a sea serpent, and some have even suggested that the Loch Ness Monster may be an oarfish. This is definitely not the type of fish that you would find fishing in a river on your average fishing trip.
If someone did take the quasi-mythical beast, Agnew advises them not to eat it, as it probably won’t taste good, and is likely quite gelatinous by now.