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oarfish, large, elongated fish, genus Regalecus, found in the oceans worldwide except for the polar regions. Oarfish species are solitary and rarely seen by humans. The giant oarfish, R. glesne, is the world's longest bony fish, up to 17.5 ft (5.4 m) in length. It has no visible teeth and no scales, a red dorsal fin that runs the length of the body, with some 400 dorsal fin rays, and a long pelvic fin, usually with a single ray. It feeds on plankton. Because of their great length, unusual appearance, and rarity, giant oarfish are probably responsible for many sea serpent legends that have arisen in folklore. Oarfish are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Actinopterygii, order Lampriformes, family Regalecidae.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Regalecus glesne), a fish of the order Lampridi-formes. The narrow and very elongate body is 5.5 m long (sometimes reaching 9 m) and weighs approximately 250 kg. The red dorsal fin originates on the head and extends the entire length of the back. The front ten to 15 rays are elongate, forming a crest above the head. The oarfish is found in the warm and temperate waters of the world’s oceans at depths of 50 to 700 m and, occasionally, near the surface. The fish swims in a vertical position with the head up. At one time, fishermen thought the fish was a sea serpent with a horse’s head and fiery red mane. The oarfish may be found in schools of herring. It is inedible.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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"First time may makaraya iya nagdagsa sa New Washington." (This is the first time an oarfish appeared off the coast of Washington)," she said.
A deep-sea slender oarfish is examined at the Uozu Aquarium in Uozu, Japan Image Credit: Japan News
California records.--We have verified a total of nineteen oarfish strandings and sightings along the California coast, since 1901, all from southern California with the exception of one sighting slightly north of the Point Conception boundary, plus several unverified and extralimital records.
Scientists have been speculating that due to the deep-sea nature of oarfish, the creature tends to live near fault lines.
This oarfish measured about 13.5 feet (4.1 metres) long, said Catalano, a conservation coordinator who said she believes the fish had washed ashore only minutes before the discovery.
It should be noted, too, that the week after Heyer's opening, two oarfish carcasses were found along the Southern California coastline, rare discoveries that happen but once a decade, typically when the creature is in distress.
Pairs of oarfish have appeared within days of each other before, deepening the mystique that surrounds the animal.
Staff at the Blue Reef Aquarium who were given the oarfish found at Tynemouth initially thought the trio of sightings were isolated cases.
Oarfish are hardly ever caught alive and are rarely seen even by seasoned fishermen.
I was particularly impressed by a holographic display of a luminescent deep-sea creature called a slender oarfish, and by another holographic display of life in the dark ocean depths near a volcanic vent, as viewed from a deep-sea submersible.