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Friday, June 21, 2024

USA. Giant tropical fish on a cold beach

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A rare species of fish has washed up on a beach in northern Oregon. A representative of the sunfish genus measuring over two meters has ventured far from its homeland – these animals mainly inhabit the waters of the southern hemisphere and around the equator. This species was first described less than a decade ago.

The fish, measuring more than two meters, washed ashore on a beach near Seaside, Oregon, last week. The animal aroused considerable interest among beachgoers – this species does not often appear in these latitudes.

A rare species

Fish of the genus sunfish (Mola) are associated mainly with tropical waters and temperate zones of the southern hemisphere, but for some time they have been venturing further and further north. These animals live in the Mediterranean and North Seas, and sometimes they even manage to reach the Baltic Sea.

Sunfish on the beach in OregonTiffany Boothe/Seaside Aquarium

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However, the individual that swam to Oregon turned out to be unique. According to New Zealand researcher Mariann Nyegaard, it is not the most widespread fish species Mola molabut often confused with it Mola tecta. Nyegaard is the discoverer of this species, first described in her scientific work from 2017.

Nyegaard contacted Seaside Aquarium officials to request samples of the fish, and the aquarium took additional photos and measurements. The researcher suspects that “it may be the largest specimen ever observed.” The fish will likely remain on the beach for several days, perhaps even weeks – the sunfish's thick skin makes it difficult for scavengers to consume their meat.

Main photo source: Tiffany Boothe/Seaside Aquarium

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