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A huge, rare species of fish is causing a stir off the coast of Oregon

A huge, rare species of fish is causing a stir off the coast of Oregon

Gearhart, Oregon. A large, rare fish that was thought to live only in temperate waters in the southern hemisphere has appeared on the northern coast. OregonThe unusual spectacle attracts crowds of curious onlookers.

The 7-foot sunfish made its first appearance Monday off Gearhart Beach, the Coastal Fisheries said in a news release.. It was on the beach Friday and could remain there for weeks, according to the aquarium, because scavengers find it difficult to pierce its tough skin.

Photos provided by the aquarium showed a flat, round, gray fish lying on its side in the sand. Photos of a person kneeling next to it and another truck parked nearby gave an idea of ​​its massive size and scale.

This caused a stir on social media, leading to a New Zealand researcher studying sunfish contacting the fishery. After looking at photos of the fish, Marianne Nygaard was able to confirm that it was indeed a hooded sunfish – rarer than the more common marine sunfish – and she believed it to be the largest fish of its kind in the fishery.

In research published in 2017, Nygard discovered through genetic sampling and observation that the hooded sunfish, or Mola tecta, is a distinct species from the marine sunfish, Mola Mola. “Tecta” is Latin for hidden or disguised, referring to a new species that was hidden in plain sight.

In previous years, sunfish appeared off the coast of California. According to the fishery, it has also recently appeared in California and Alaska, calling into question the theory that it lives only in the southern hemisphere. The fish may have washed ashore in other parts of the Pacific Northwest, but at the time it was confused with the more common sunfish, the aquarium added.

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