The world’s longest bony fish, oarfish was caught by a fisherman from the sea of Carmen, Agusan Del Norte, Philippines. This instigated a lot of speculations as myths have easily circulated around the area. It is believed that the appearance of such creature in shallow waters will cause earthquakes to follow. With its superlative size and majestic beauty, together with such myth, the creature has been put to limelight.
But this isn’t the first time a giant oarfish went ashore. Regalecus glesne,
its scientific name,
was first sighted in 1772. They usually appear by pair or three within a short period of time in temperate and tropical shallows. The species are actually deep-dwelling with its home around 200 to 1,000 meters below the surface. This explains why such aren’t usually seen by the sea, surprising people when it occasionally does.
Scientists believe that oarfish’s appearance is due to strong currents and buffeting winds. However, a vast majority of beachside oarfish sightings end with the fish’s death. This is believed to be possibly due to its biological process on which it seeks the surface when dying. Whether it’s due to that or the pushing of the waves caused its death isn’t certain. A 2011 video, nonetheless, was able to capture through a research ROV in the Gulf of Mexico its fascinating habitat.
Moreover, due to its deep home, scientists still struggle to explore and conduct research of such. Only a few specimens was acquired for fishermen either put it back in the ocean or dead when they’re not. Hence, the speculations still remain.
“Will studying the oarfish reveal more about the deep oceans, part of our own planet and yet as distant and unknown as the reaches of space just barely out of our grasp? It seems we’ll have to wait for the next oarfish to ripple into view,” NatGeo writer, Rachel Brown, says.