Scientists exploring the waters near the Gulf of Mexico were able to capture a video of a giant serpent-like sea creature known as an oarfish. They shared the rare video with the public on June 10, allowing everyone a rare opportunity to see the very elusive creature in its natural habitat.
The oarfish or Regalecus glesne on average measures 26 feet long but can grow to about 50 feet. It is considered as the longest bony fish known to man and has fascinated marine biologists since it was first described in the 18th century. It has been referred to as a sea monster in folklores due to its size and appearance. The oarfish has big round eyes and an eel-like body featuring a very long dorsal fin.
Most sightings of the oarfish before just involved dead specimens that were washed ashore.
The rare video was taken using the GulfSERPENT, a remotely operated vehicle or ROV, that is currently being used for finding new underwater oil deposits.
Mark Benfield, a marine biologist from the Louisiana State University, was there when the ROV chanced upon the oarfish in the waters near Mexico.
"The striking thing is they swim by undulating their dorsal fin like a propeller, and they can change direction instantly. Most of the time they move slowly and stealthily, but when they want to, they can move fast," Benfield said in an interview with Los Angeles Times.
"We were just finishing up scanning the water column about 200 feet below the surface when my technician yelled. I walked into the lab and saw this giant oarfish. I was like, 'Oh my God,' and we followed that thing for 10 minutes," exclaimed Benfield.
The researchers learned a lot about the oarfish during several sightings. According to a report on National Geographic, the marine biologists found out that the oarfish can be found at a minimum depth of 1,640 feet, that is has a linear propeller and it can co-exist with parasitic isopods.
It was not the first time for Benfield and his team to see an oarfish. The marine biologist had documented the otherworldly creature four times since 2008. The last one was in 2011 while doing an oil spill impact assessment.
The video also showcased a parasitic isopod attached to the dorsal fin of the oarfish.
A report of the sightings of oarfish was reported by Benfield and his team and the findings were published in the Journal of Fish Biology on June 5.
Watch the video of the oarfish below: