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Supremely rare footage of oarfish swimming in the shallows

By Leonard Ho - Posted Apr 08, 2014 10:00 AM
Oarfish are one of the most amazing - and most rare - fish in the ocean. Their unusual silver ribbon-like bodies can reach lengths in excess of 11 meters (36 feet). They are believed to inhabit deep waters (we're talking up to 1000 meters/3300 feet deep), but every blue moon oarfish may wander into shallow waters.
Supremely rare footage of oarfish swimming in the shallows

The oceans are full of wonder!

Sea Serpents Do Exist

Human encounters with oarfish - even dead oarfish washed ashore - are very rare, so this footage of oarfish in the shallow tropical sea in the Sea of Cortés (Mexico) is truly something special.  The video was shot by a group affiliated with Chicago's Shedd Aquarium.  The video begins with what appears to be a woman freeing a beached oarfish using boat paddles to send it out back to sea.

As previously mentioned, oarfish rarely wander into shallow waters.  It's unknown why this happens.  Theories range from fish weakened by disease or injury to simply a specimen drifting inshore (oarfish are poor swimmers and are largely at the mercy of ocean currents).

Watching this video, "you can easily imagine where tales of sea serpents might have started," as the Smithsonian article states.  We apologize for the small embed box, but you can maximize the video to full screen to really appreciate the scale of these amazing fish.  FYI: The footage records what is considered a small 15 foot long oarfish.  They can grow well over twice in length.

Author: Leonard Ho
Location: Southern California

I'm a passionate aquarist of over 30 years, a coral reef lover, and the blog editor for Advanced Aquarist. While aquarium gadgets interest me, it's really livestock (especially fish), artistry of aquariums, and "method behind the madness" processes that captivate my attention.


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