What made this rare, “fearsome” fish reach California shores?

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Another uncommon, terrifying creature was seen on Glider Port in San Diego shores this month, following one rare creature washed on the shores in California this year.

On Nov. 13, a Pacific footballfish, an angler-fish type seen all over the Pacific Ocean, washed up on the shore, a report by KNSD in San Diego said.

Jay Beiler was the first to see the creature, describing to the news outlet that it was “nearly a foot long.”

“You know, I go to the beach fairly often, so I’m familiar with the territory, but I’ve never seen an organism that looked quite as fearsome as this,” the finder told the news station.

Another footballfish was found in May on a California shore, but its location was farther north in Crystal Cove State Park in Orange County.

At that time, park officials said the discovery “is unknown how or why the fish ended up on the shore.”

A Pacific footballfish found earlier this year on the shores of Crystal Cove State Park in Newport Beach, Calif. 

SFGATE has reached out to an expert who said that another discovery of the anglerfish species is rare as the organism is commonly found 2, 000 to 3, 000 feet below the surface.

In an email, California Academy of Sciences senior collection manager Dave Catania said that there were only 13 Pacific footballfish collected worldwide by institutions. Of this number, three were collected by institutions in California.

Scripps Institution of Oceanography expert Ben Frable told KNSD that the fish has “only been seen a few times here in California.”

Catania said that California Academy of Sciences has one, and was “trawled from 3,000 [feet] deep off Moss Landing” in 1985.

“Given their rarity in collections, I would say that two washing up on California beaches this year is unusual,” Catania said in an email to SFGATE.

The ones seen this year are female, like one of their collection, citing the creatures’ size and bioluminescent protrusions found in it. Their male counterparts are “very tiny in comparison,” he said.

Anglerfish specialist Ted Pietsch, who is also a University of Washington biologist, said that the discovery of the creatures in the California shores was coincidence.

“Nothing special here, washed up totally by chance,” he said.

It remains unclear, however, of what caused the creatures’ deaths, Catania said. “Both specimens appear to be in excellent condition, so predation isn’t evident,” Catania said.