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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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Oarfish are of interest to scientists because they live in a largely unknown ecosystem of the oceanic mesopelagic zone, the part of the ocean that is about 660 to 3,280 feet (200 to 1,000 metres) below the surface.
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.
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.
The giant oarfish, which can reach 17m long, has previously only been seen on a few occasions dying at the sea surface, or dead washed ashore.
Nicknamed the "King of Herrings" by marine experts, the oarfish is the world's longest species of bony fish, and can grow to be as long as eight metres.
The remains of the rare oarfish, with eyes the size of half-dollar coins, were discovered by marine science instructor Jasmine Santana in the waters of Catalina Island's Toyon Bay, 22 miles from the Port of Los Angeles.
And anglers of all persuasions will be staggered at the news that two specimens each over 20 feet long, of one of the world's rarest fishes, the oarfish, have been witnessed beaching themselves in a remote Mexican beach.
But the 8-foot long creature it isn't a young sea serpent or a cousin of the Loch Ness monster 6 it's an oarfish.
Andrews Aquarium, says the animal is most likely an oarfish or Conger eel.