Beachgoers mistook a black spot spotted in San Diego for a ball of tar – when it was actually a rare angler fish that lives 3,000 feet below sea level.
The mysterious creature had sharp, prickly teeth, small black eyes, a tentacle-covered appendix, and a bulb protruding from its head – similar to the nightmarish fish of Finding Nemo.
Scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California at San Diego have identified it as a Pacific football fish, which is so rare that only 31 have been found since its discovery over a century ago. .
However, this new specimen is the third to run aground in California this year, according to the Guardian.
It is currently unknown why the extremely reclusive creature has appeared so often, but experts have dismissed concerns that something is wrong.
However, they are excited to hear more as they begin to examine the fish.
Ben Frable, ichthyologist and head of the fish collection at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, said: “That a few have stranded this year may be a fluke for us. “
Earlier this year, Finding Nemo fans immediately recognized the Pacific Football fish after photos of the ‘incredibly rare find’ were posted to social media.
The strange creature’s mouth opened, revealing its razor-sharp teeth and a specialized fin on its head that lights up to attract prey to the depths of the sea.
Los Angeles boat tour agency Davey’s Locker Sportfishing & Whale Watching posted photos of the strange creature on Facebook.
He wrote: “It’s not something we pulled on the boat today, but it’s still an AMAZING RARE find off local @newportbeach in Crystal Cove State Park yesterday.”
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