Sunday 29 March 2009

Is this a sea monster?

The oarfish (latin name Regalecus glesne )is sometimes known as king of herrings or ribbon fish. It has a silver body, bright red dorsal fin and mane-like crest behind the head. It is usually found deep in sub-tropical waters of Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans and is classed as scarce. The last one seen in Britain was found in 1981 on a beach at Whitby, North Yorkshire. It has been preserved in the National History Museum. There have been some caught around the north coast in the last few years and it is often given as the explaination for sea monster sightings.However the Oar Fish swims vertically and does not move in the way described in sea monster sightings. Some recent stories of catches :

A female angler from Teesside caught more than she bargained for when she went fishing for mackerel, and landed a huge rare species of deep sea fish.

The angler, who is 5ft 4in, and weighs eight stone, took 40 minutes to land the fish, which usually prefers lurking deep in the Atlantic.Ms Fletcher, of Marine Terrace, Skinningrove, said: "It was a real struggle to get it in, and then when we did nobody knew what it was - it looked prehistoric."Nobody in the village could identify it. We tied it to a scaffold plank and it was outside my house for two days while people came to have a look at it."The oarfish, or Regalecus glesne (king of herrings), is the ancient mariner's legendary sea fish.

They are the longest bony fish in the sea and have a mane-like crest behind a toothless mouth. They can grow up to 30 feet in length and weigh up to a quarter of a ton.Bemused biologists have no idea why the deep water creature, usually found in the Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic, was living in the relatively shallow North Sea.The last one seen in the UK was found in 1981 on a beach at Whitby, North Yorkshire.Marine expert David Whittaker said: "It is a very remarkable catch, and anyone who finds one should really keep it intact."The fish, however, has already been cut up into pieces.

24 February 2009

By Staff Copy

A SIMILAR rare sea creature which once washed up on a Whitby beach was recently found on a beach in Northumberland.

The silvery-skinned giant known as a ribbon fish or oar fish because of its oar-like shape was found on a beach in Amble. In 1981, one of the rare fishes was found on Sandsend beach by dog walker Robert Wood of Whitby.
He said in an article in the Daily Mirror: “It is a very rare fish in UK waters. Only three or four have been reported in the last 50 years.”The fish was once feared by mariners through the ages as a mythical sea serpent or monster.It measured 12ft 6ins in length with a maximum girth of 22 inches, yet was no more than three inches thick in the centre.Speaking in 2006 Mr. Wood said his find had been a “one-off.”

He told the Gazette at the time: “I believe it was the only one ever found when it was still alive.”The ribbon fish went off to the Natural History Museum in London but a cast of its head was taken and is now displayed in the marine museum in Scarborough.Nobody knows about a ribbon fish’s life cycle and a live one has only been filmed once. Another ribbon fish was found in Cleveland in 2003.

Being rare does not make it the fish seen in every sighting of a sea serpent. Makes it interesting and possibly the reason for some sightings but not the only.

No comments: