The giant Oarfish, also known as the paddlefish, is the oldest known living bony fish. They possess huge eyes, which allow them to travel to the deepest parts of the ocean, their bodies are unusually long, some individuals have been found to be longer than a bus and heavy. almost 300 kg.
Oarfish may have been the source of the myth of sea snakes that appeared for centuries across most of the world’s maritime cultures. Those lucky enough to see them out in the open have noted that their heads rise above the water as their remarkably long bodies slide along below.
Oarfish is a species of fish in the family Regalecidae. Their rare appearance on the surface of the ocean has made them so mysterious that in Japan, people even include the creatures in their folklore – they are known as ryugu no. tsukai or “Messenger from the Palace of the Sea God”, it is commonly believed that this animal is a harbinger of earthquakes and tsunamis. In particular, more than a dozen oarfish washed up on the shores of Japan around the time an 8.8-magnitude earthquake hit Chile in March 2010 – a year before the 2011 Fukushima disaster.
These flat, eel-like fish are also known as ribbon fish for their long and thin bodies or rooster fish for their red and veined dorsal rim.
In fact, this fish is harmless to humans, unless you are small enough to be bitten by the small toothless mouth of the oarfish. Even its feeding process is quite gentle, as it simply swims around the ocean with its mouth wide open and takes what it gets.
However, it is this animal that inspires horrifying stories of encounters with dangerous sea monsters, but in reality they are entirely feed on tiny plankton, their mouths have no teeth. and just a small hole in the digestive system that allows the fish to feed itself.
Unlike most other bony fishes, oarfish do not have scales. Instead, their skin is covered with a silvery substance called guanine. People who have tried eating oarfish have said that their meat is quite slimy and not tasty.
The family Regalecidae comes from the Latin regalis, which means “royal”. Their dorsal fin begins above the large eyes and runs the length of the body. Of their 400 dorsal fin rays, the first 10 to 13 are the longest and form a crown-like crest.
This fish moves by bobbing their body in a wavy shape. The oarfish is also known to move vertically in the water, able to shoot straight up to the surface when it wants to.
Since these animals rarely come to the surface, not much is known about their conservation status.
Furthermore, they are often associated with fictional stories, so seeing a Regalcus russelii fish washed up on the shores of Japan is considered a bad omen. Many people believe that the appearance of this fish is a sign of an impending earthquake. While it may seem unfounded, there may be some scientific basis for this belief.
“Deep-sea fish living near the sea floor are more sensitive to the movement of active faults than fish living near the surface,” explains earthquake expert Kiyoshi Wadatsumi of the nonprofit organization e-PISCO.
Unlike the slender oarfish, the giant oarfish (Regalecus glesne) is rarely seen.
First described in 1772, this rare animal lives at depths of about 3,280 feet (10,000 m). The next time they were spotted was in 1996 by the US Navy SEALS – while stationed on the coast of Coronado, California, the team spotted a giant oarfish washed ashore.
In 2001, an oarfish was captured alive in its habitat for the first time. During a routine inspection of a buoy in the Bahamas, US Navy personnel spotted the animal bobbing rhythmically along the water.