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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 ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Actinopterygii, order Lampriformes, family Regalecidae.



(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.

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Because of this, some scientists say the oarfish developed greater sensitivity to chemical changes in the water just before an earthquake occurs.
In 2013, scientists and wildlife aficionados reacted with interest when two oarfish washed ashore in Southern California, with one found in Oceanside and the other on Catalina Island.
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.
Zahra said: "The North East coast is one of the hotspots for oarfish sightings.
Earlier this month, a 10ft-long oarfish was discovered in a decayed condition near Amble, in Northumberland, which was thought to have become stranded as it followed the Gulf Stream towards the UK.
The crested oarfish, Lophotus lacepede, from Florida; First record for the western north Atlantic, Copeia 1951(4):285-287.
Oarfish are hardly ever caught alive and are rarely seen even by seasoned fishermen.
We even found video clips of a diver's encounter with an oarfish at the Navy's Undersea Warfare Center Division site (http:/www.
With its eerie, sinuous silhouette, it's little wonder that the oarfish has long been mistaken for a sea serpent.
During a leisure snorkeling trip off the Southern California coast, Jasmine Santana, a 26-year-old marine science instructor, spotted the silvery carcass, which turned out to be an oarfish also known as the sea serpent.
Oarfish are one of the world's longest fish reaching 17m.