Legendary giant oarfish that grows up to 50-feet-long and lives nearly a mile undersea recorded in its natural environment for first time.
The giant oarfish, the largest bony fish alive, has finally been caught on camera in its natural environment. Marine biologists at Louisiana State University captured the mysterious fish on camera through a partnership with an offshore drilling company in the Gulf of Mexico.
The scientists used the company's remote-operated submersibles and observed the oarfish five times between 2008 and 2011.
The giant oarfish was first discovered in 1772 by Norwegian biologist Peter Ascanius. Its formal scientific title is Regalecus glesne, but the fish is also known as king of the herring, Pacific oarfish, streamer fish and ribbon-fish. And that's just what the thin fish looks like - a stream of ribbon.
The oarfish in the video is thought to be around 8 feet long. The longest recorded specimen clocked in at 26 feet.
However, the species is believed to grow as long as 50 feet and weigh as much as 600 pounds.
Like the equally mysterious giant squid, the oarfish would go on to enchant fisherman and sailors and inspire stories of sea monsters. The reason the oarfish hadn't been caught on camera before is because it lives at extreme ocean depths, between 656 feet (0.2 kilometers) and 3,280 feet (1 kilometer) deep.
In a partnership called the Serpent Project, scientists are able to peer into depths not normally observable by enlisting the help of deep sea oil and gas drillers. Not much is known about the creature. Studies had previously only been possible when the rare fish has washed ashore dead or dying.
Though the species has only been sighted in a few places worldwide, it is believed to inhabit deep waters around the globe, save for the Polar Regions. The fish uses a form of location called amiiform swimming in which its dorsal fin, which runs the length of its sizable body, undulates while the body itself remains straight and motionless.
Last October, an oarfish washed ashore off Cabo San Lucas. It was 15-feet-long and attracted a crowd of gawkers. No one could revive the fish, so it was taken in for scientific study.
In 2006, another oarfish in poor condition surfaced in a cove on Santa Catalina Island in Southern California.
Doug Oudin, a harbormaster, was able to swim with the creature before it died remarking that it's coloring was 'metallic silver with bright blue-brown spots and splotches, along with its amazing pinkish-red fell length dorsal fin.' It also appeared that the fish was blind, which isn't unusual for creatures that live at such deep parts of the ocean where there is little light.
Another spotting of the creature occurred in 1901. A 22-foot oarfish landed on Newport Beach, California, which spurned ' the basis for many sea-serpent stories told by local bay patrons for more than a decade after its discovery,' according to reporting on Pete Thomas Outdoors.