11/14/2008

Oarfish: Dragon of the Deep

Loch Ness, sea dragons, sea serpents: myth or reality? Well the oarfish is real, for sure. Known as the dragon of the deep, this odd creature is the longest bony fish is the sea. This deep-sea species are usually found in tropical regions; it's not uncommon to see them because they tend to wash up ashore & float at the water surface when they are sick/dying.
Description
  • Longest oarfish ever measured was 11m long.
  • The oarfish has a tapered & elongated silver-colored body - it has a majestic-looking dorsal fin, with the color ranging from pink to red.
  • The anal fin & claudal fin (ie at the end) is greatly reduced/non-existent: the body tapers to a fine point.
  • The species has no teeth - it is scaleless, covered by easily-abraded, silvery guanine - not eaten because of gelatinous property.
  • The species have been known to swim by undulating its long dorsal fin - it has also been observed swimming vertically.
  • Not much is known about their reproductive cycle but spawning has been observed.
  • Oarfish primarily feed on zooplankton & small fish.

An oarfish swimming vertically

Its easy to see how they could be mistaken as sea serpents:

2 oarfish swimming at the surface

An oarfish "climbing" on the rocks

An oarfish dying on the rocks

A very fascinating creature, there's so much more to learn about it, perhaps 1 day a trip to Mexico wouldn't be such a bad idea :p

1 comment:

espree said...

The oarfish swimming vertically looks like a shiny silver blade in the water...wow.
~Creepy if you come across one while swimming..hehe