SOME truly bizarre and garish-looking sea creatures have washed up on shores all over the world in the last decade, freaking out beachgoers and internet users alike.
One of the more recent terrifying discoveries was made on a California beach in May after a deep-sea Pacific Football fish washed up on a beach in Crystal Cove State Park.
It was in such an advanced stage of decomposition that beachgoer Chris Blair told News Center Maine that it just looked like a blob of something. “It was pretty gross,” he said.
Football fish, a species of anglerfish, typically dwell at depths of more than 3,000 feet below the surface of the ocean.
While the fish itself is not uncommon, local fish experts said at the time that it’s extremely rare to see one “this intact along a beach in southern CA.”
The dark-colored fish have a long dorsal fin, called an illicium, which extends in the front of the mouth and has a phosphorescent bulb on the end that can emit light to attract unsuspecting prey.
The fish was famously featured in the movie Finding Nemo.
Females get up grow up to 24 inches in length, while males measure in much shorter.
This fish, which measured at 18 inches, is now with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and is expected to end up as part of an exhibit in a zoo.
Months earlier in California, thousands of ‘penis fish’ washed up on Drakes Beach after a storm forced them out of their underwater burrows.
The sausage-like creatures – also known as the “fat innkeeper worm” or Urechis caupo – washed up in December 2019.
A marine life expert writing for Bay Nature explained that strong storms may have forced the bulbous creatures out of their burrows and exposed to predators.
Ivan Parr said: “The same phenomenon has been reported over the years at Pajaro Dunes, Moss Landing, Bodega Bay, and Princeton Harbor.
“I’ve heard my share of imaginative theories from beachcombers, such as flotsam of a wrecked bratwurst freighter.
“In truth, these are living denizens of our beaches rudely, yet also mercifully, mostly called ‘fat innkeeper worms.’”
Months earlier in California, thousands of ‘penis fish’ washed up on Drakes Beach after a storm forced them out of their underwater burrows[/caption]
Parr acknowledged that the shape of this phallic fish “has some explaining to do” when a concerned reader queried why they were there.
He described how these spoonworms make U-shaped burrows under the mud or sand that it leaves behind for other creatures to move in.
This is why it’s known as an “innkeeper” – although “penis-fish” is a natural conclusion for those who come across them strewn all over the shoreline.
The toothless creatures have also been on Earth for some time, with fossil evidence of their burrows dating back 300 million years.
‘HAIRY SEA MONSTER’
Outside of the US, a mysterious so-called “globster” washed ashore in the Phillippines in May 2018, prompting speculation it was the carcass of a creature from “deepest parts of the ocean.”
Appearing to be covered in hair, the grey creature measured more than twenty feet long.
This washed ashore in the Phillippines in May 2018[/caption]
It’s believed to have been a decomposing carcass[/caption]
It also terrified some locals in the town of San Antonio, Oriental Mindoro province, who believed its beaching was a sign of “something bad coming.”
The creature baffled local officials for some time, however, scientists later explained that it was likely the decomposing remains of a whale, and that the hair-like strands were actually decomposing muscle fibers.
Globsters have been found on beaches all over the world, with the term first used to describe an unidentified carcass that washed up in western Tasmania in 1960.
In August of the same year, hundreds of baseball-like sea creatures washed up on a beach in Cornwall, England.
The small heart-shaped orbs were identified to be sea potatoes, a sea urchin that lives buried in sandy and muddy sea beds all around UK coasts.
In August of the same year, hundreds of baseball-like sea creatures washed up on a beach in Cornwall, England.[/caption]
A local resident, Rosie Hendricks, told the BBC at the time she saw “odd-looking” creatures on the beach while out with her family. “I wasn’t sure what they were,” Hendricks said.
The precise cause of the beaching remains unclear, but experts predicted it may have been the result of a mass mating event gone wrong – with the urchins possibly caught in a storm or a swell.
SHARKS WITH NO LIVERS
A strange mystery befell a coastal town in South Africa when four dead great white sharks washed ashore without livers between May and June of 2017. One of the sharks was also missing its heart.
The bizarre phenomenon prompted scientists to perform necropsies on the four bodies.
That investigation uncovered evidence which suggested that orcas were responsible for the mysterious deaths.
The bizarre phenomenon prompted scientists to perform necropsies on the four bodies[/caption]
“These observations are unprecedented,” white shark biologist Alison Towner wrote on the Marine Dynamics blog at the time.
“We don’t really know how long the sharks will stay away from the area as a result of predation pressure.”
Great white sharks are not the usual prey of killer whales, though such attacks do sometimes occur in southern Australia and San Francisco.
The Orcas targeted the liver, experts say, because they are filled with fats, energy, and nutrients.
A beach on Catalina Island, California provided the backdrop to a rare sight in June 2015 when a huge 17-foot deep-sea oarfish washed up onshore.
Weighing around two hundred pounds, the fish was discovered to have a pair of ovaries that were seven feet long and weighed 24 pounds.
They are rarely seen because they prefer to slither in the deep, open ocean.
Weighing around two hundred pounds, the fish was discovered to have a pair of ovaries that were seven feet long[/caption]
It was discovered by Annie MacAulay while taking kids on an educational kayaking trip off the island shores.
“Seeing the oarfish yesterday was indeed one of the highlights of my 25-year career as a marine science educator,” MacAulay said at the time.
“Being able to see and touch the longest species of bony fish was amazing!”
BEHEADED SEA LIONS
Residents of Vancouver Island, in Canada, were left disturbed in July last year after the bodies of several beheaded sea lions washed up on various beaches over the period of a few weeks.
Some of the creatures also had their clean skulls laid next to their bodies.
It’s unclear how these animals died, but rather than a blood-thirsty predator, humans were cited as the likely culprit.
Residents of Vancouver Island, in Canada, were left disturbed in July last year after the bodies of several beheaded sea lions washed up[/caption]
“To me, this looks intentional, whether it’s by a single person or a group of people,” Anna Hall, a marine mammal zoologist at Sea View Marine Sciences, said.
“I sincerely hope that Fisheries and Oceans Canada pursues this case to determine who is doing this and to bring them to justice because this is a violation of federal law.”
If a local was responsible for beheading the sea lions, they were never found.
A mysterious decomposing “sea monster” washed ashore in Maine in July 2018.
The large creature was about 15 feet long and four feet wide.
It was in such an advanced stage of decomposition that beachgoer Chris Blair told News Center Maine that it just looked like a “blob.”
“It was pretty gross,” he said.
A mysterious decomposing ‘sea monster’ washed ashore in Maine in July 2018[/caption]
Because of its size, many initially believed the creature to be the remains of a decomposed whale.
However, experts quickly determined it was actually a basking shark, the second largest species of shark in the world.
The shark carcass was so heavy that the local Public Works Department had to use a bulldozer to remove it, Live Science reported.