These are several shots of what is believed to be a female Pacific Footballfish (I think I caught one of those in Animal Crossing!) that recently washed ashore in Crystal Cove, California. The fish normally lives at depths down to 3,000 feet, so it’s rare to ever see one at all, but especially not completely distorted as a result of its body reacting to the incredible pressure difference from 3,000-feet to sea level. Details about the fish from officials at Crystal Cove State Park and not Crystal Lake State Park, because all those people got machete’d to death by Jason Voorhees:
Only females possess a long stalk on the head with bioluminescent tips used as a lure to entice prey in the darkness of waters as deep as 3,000 feet! Their teeth, like pointed shards of glass, are transparent and their large mouth is capable of sucking up and swallowing prey the size of their own body. While females can reach lengths of 24 inches males only grow to be about an inch long and their sole purpose is to find a female and help her reproduce. Males latch onto the female with their teeth and become “sexual parasites,” eventually coalescing with the female until nothing is left of their form but their testes for reproduction. Wild! To see an actual angler fish intact is very rare and it is unknown how or why the fish ended up on the shore. Seeing this strange and fascinating fish is a testament to the diversity of marine life lurking below the water’s surface in California’s MPAs and as scientists continue to learn more about these deep sea creatures it’s important to reflect on how much is still to be learned from our wonderful ocean.
Did you read that?! Note to self: at least behave well enough in this life to not be reincarnated as a male Pacific Footballfish. Will that require turning my whole life around? Yes. Will it be worth it? Most definitely. Will I be able to? *tossing empty beer cans over neighbor’s fence* I’ll be honest, it’s not looking good.