‘Twilight Zone’ sea creature washes ashore after sonic boom
A menacing-looking marine animal with a gaping mouth full of fang-like teeth, typically found in the "Ocean Twilight Zone" that was mysteriously washed ashore on a Southern California beach last week.
Davey's Locker Sportfishing and Whale Watching posted a rare video of the lancet fish writhing in the sand near the edge of the shoreline in Laguna Beach. Goff Tours, a professional surf school in Laguna Beach, captured the footage.
"Creature from the twilight zone!" Davey’s Locker announced on Facebook.
The Ocean Twilight Zone is described by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution as a layer of water that extends around the globe and lies approximately 650 to 3,300 feet below the surface of the ocean, just out of the reach of sunlight.
Although the lancet fish has been found in waters up to 10 fathoms in Oregon and the Gulf of Mexico, it is found primarily in this Twilight Zone and beyond, from 328 to 6,560 feet.
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The appearance of these strange sea creatures on an Orange County beach remains unexplained, but they appeared on the coast within minutes of a mysterious sonic boom, Goff Tours reported.
"After recording this video, the fish was safely pulled back into the water, where it seemed to swim away unharmed," said Davey’s Locker.
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It has been identified as a deep-sea lancet fish. With gaping fangs, huge eyes, a sail fin, and a long, slippery body, lancet fish look like they've swum straight from prehistoric times. While the fish itself is not uncommon, with long-nosed lancet fish inhabiting all of the planet's oceans, it is extremely rare to see any of these fish alive on a beach in southern California.
Lancet fish grow to be more than 2 meters long and are one of the largest deep-sea fish, swimming to a depth of more than a mile below the surface of the sea. Lancet fish are notorious cannibals and also feed voraciously on many other fish and invertebrates. Many descriptions of new species of fish, octopus, and octopus are based on specimens collected from lancet stomachs, as food in their stomachs is often found in an almost pristine state, barely digested. Scientists at the NOAA Fisheries Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center speculate that lancet fish can eat as much as possible whenever they find food and then digest it later when they need it. Their stomachs offer a window into the hardly explored twilight zone in the sea, in which the fish mainly hunt.
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