The deep-sea creature is an image horror films are made of: Dark black flesh, teeth sharp as glass and an antenna that glows to entice prey in the ocean’s depths.
It’s quite fitting that the spooky-looking angler fish washed up on Friday the 13th, just weeks before Halloween.
It is the second angler fish to washed up at Crystal Cove State Park in recent years. Another of the deep water fish, also dubbed the Pacific Football Fish, was found on the shore by a park visitor in 2021, making international news.
The fish found last week was picked up by California Department of Fish and Wildlife for further research, according to a social media post by State Parks officials.
The angler fish that washed up two years ago was such a rarity it is now housed at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles.
There are more than 200 species of angler fish worldwide. The fish that washed ashore both had the long stalk on their heads that only the females posses. The stalk has bioluminescent tips used as a lure to entice prey in pitch black water as deep as 3,000 feet.
“Their teeth, like pointed shards of glass, are transparent and their large mouth is capable of sucking up and swallowing prey the size of their own body,” the State Parks folks noted.
To see an angler fish intact is very rare and it is unknown how or why these fish ended up onshore, officials said.
“Seeing this strange and fascinating fish is a testament to the curious diversity of marine life lurking below the water’s surface in California’s Marine Protected Areas (MPAs),” their post said, “and as scientists continue to learn more about these deep sea creatures it’s important to reflect on how much is still to be learned from our wonderful and mysterious ocean.”