Creepy deep sea lancetfish mysteriously wash up on Oregon beaches
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Several lancetfish have washed ashore Oregon beaches over the last few weeks.
The deep-sea fish were found from Nehalem south to Bandon, according to the Oregon Parks & Recreation Department.
In a picture, the department shared one that was found alive.
The lancetfish was helped back into the ocean and it swam away.
“If you see one, take a photo and post with the tags Oregon State Parks NOAA Fisheries West Coast,” the department advised on Facebook.
The department said that no one is sure why they are washing ashore.
The fang-jawed, scaleless fish live in tropical and subtropical waters and their long, slithery bodies can migrate as far north as Alaska’s Bering Sea to feed.
Lancetfish can grow to more than 7 feet long and are one of the largest deep-sea fish.
They can swim more than a mile beneath the sea’s surface. The depths where lancetfish hunt are known as the twilight zone or the mesopelagic zone. It is a layer of the ocean where bioluminescence begins to appear in life, and it extends from 660 feet to 3,300 feet.
The lancetfish are hermaphrodites – they have both male and female sex organs – and very little is known about lancetfish reproduction and development.
Sharks, tuna, fur seals eat lancetfish, as well as other lancetfish. They are notorious cannibals and feed on other fish and invertebrates.
It is believed that lancetfish may bulk feed, digesting food later when it is needed.
Scientists suspect that, due to their gelatinous muscles, lancetfish are ambush predators that are camouflaged in the water until prey swim by near enough to attack.
They are generally not appetizing to humans.