Rarely Seen Football Fish Found Ashore In Newport Beach, California

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Rarely Seen Football Fish Found Ashore In Newport Beach, California
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Ben Estes, a Southern California beachgoer, came across a Pacific football fish (Himantolophus sagamius) on the shores of Crystal Cove State Park’s Marine Protected Area in Newport Beach. This rare species of anglerfish is usually found about 3000 feet deep in the ocean. More than 200 species of anglerfish have been discovered so far.

The football fish is a rare deep-sea creature with a jet-black, football-shaped body. A long bioluminescent stalk can be found on the top of its head, and its teeth look like little shards of glass. About the astonishing discovery, Davey’s Locker Sportfishing & Whale Watching wrote on Facebook:

Football fish

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These fish live in absolute darkness, and they rarely encounter other species of fish. Due to this reason, the evolution of football fish has made them capable of consuming whatever fits in their 18-inch mouth. These fish have an extended fin called an esca at the end. They have an extended rod with a glowing bulb that looks like a fishing rod, which helps them lure prey. This glow is gained from Photobacterium that is tiny bacteria living inside the pores of the esca.

This bioluminescent appendage is only present in females. Also, females can reach a maximum size of 24 inches, while that of males is only 1 inch. Male football fish are sexual parasites. They latch onto a female and fuse till the only thing left on the female’s body is their testes.

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California State Park officials have no idea how the fish ended up on the shore. They are in talks with the County’s Natural History Museum about adding the fish to their collection of ocean species. Although this collection has three other anglerfish, just one is from California.

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Image source – Davey’s Locker Sportfishing & Whale Watching

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