California is known for its beautiful beaches and scenic views, but not even the Golden State can get away from the creatures that lurk in its waters.
In case anyone needed a reminder of how scary the ocean is, a fish known as the Pacific Football Fish washed up on the shores of Crystal Cove State Park in Newport Beach, California, located 60 miles south of Santa Monica, on Friday.
A beachgoer named Ben Eslef noticed the creature on the shore, according to Davey’s Locker Sportfishing & Whale Watching.
The Pacific Football Fish is one of over 200 species of angler fish across the world, according to Crystal Cove State Park officials. To others, it may be a fish made of nightmares.
If the appearance of this fish didn’t spook you, then wait until you know about it.
“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,” park officials said on Facebook.
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The species is known for the bioluminescent tips — which only females possess — it uses to entice prey as they are typically found in dark waters as deep as 3,000 feet. Park officials added it is extremely rare to find an angler fish intact, and they do not know how the fish washed ashore.
“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,” park officials said.
The fish is currently in custody of the California Department of Fish & Wildlife.
Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jord_mendoza.