Recently, a 100-pound fish formed like a manhole cover and festooned in silver and coral-orange ranges washed up on a beach in Beach, Oregon. The exotic-looking citizen of the deep is called an opah or moonfish and is rarely observed so far north, according to the regional Seaside Aquarium, which was alerted to the washed-up sea creature by beachgoers.
These striking, open-ocean fish can weigh more than 600 extra pounds and grow to greater than 6 feet in length after spending several years feasting on their favorite foods like krill and squid, reports Oliver Milman for the Guardian.
Opah normally inhabit warmer waters, such as those off the coasts of California and Hawaii, however it’s not totally unheard of to encounter one in Oregon waters. In 2009, a angler captured a 97-pound opah while plying the mouth of the Columbia River simply north of Beach, reports Jamie Hale of the Oregonian.
Heidi Dewar, a fisheries biologist with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), tells Paulina Firozi of the Washington Post that she normally would not anticipate to locate a 100-pound opah off the Oregon coast.
In the weeks leading up to the opah stranding, the Pacific Northwest was broiled by an intense heatwave that eliminated an estimated one billion marine organisms– with clams and mussels being prepared alive inside their shells. Researchers claim the severe heat would certainly have been “virtually impossible” without environment change, according to the Guardian.
There isn’t any information explicitly connecting the unusual fish stranding to the heatwave or climate change, but, talking with the Post, Dewar suggests rising ocean temperatures could have played a role in the unique sighting.
” We are seeing some marine organisms relocating northward as ocean temperatures increase,” Dewar tells the Article. However, she also noted the fish’s regular range remains in “close proximity to Oregon, so it’s not very unusual.”
Despite their conspicuous look, relatively little is known about the opah’s basic biology, such as their maximum age, according to the Post.
The Beachfront Aquarium retrieved the opah’s virtually undamaged body and placed it in a freezer for preservation. With the help of the nearby Columbia River Maritime Museum, the fish tank intends to provide a school team the opportunity to dissect the fish’s remains during the coming academic year.
” Not a lot is known about these beautiful fish, so anything we can learn will certainly be beneficial,” Tiffany Boothe, assistant manager at the aquarium, tells the Post. “This will certainly likewise provide students the special experience of dissecting a really awesome fish that they might never ever come across once again in their day-to-day lives.”