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Rare sighting: 'football fish' washes up on California coast

Tuesday, May 11th 2021, 2:54 pm - Here's something you don't see every day.

About 95 per cent of the ocean remains undiscovered. And some of the things we have discovered are weird, wonderful, and look like they're straight out of a sci-fi film.

Here's an example: Meet the football, or angler fish, which lives at great depths -- around 2,000 metres below sea level, to be exact.

While rarely seen on land, one washed ashore in California's Crystal Cove State Park. In an Instagram post, officials said they aren't sure how or why the 45-cm fish ended up on land.

"Seeing this strange and fascinating fish is a testament to the diversity of marine life lurking below the water's surface in California's [marine protected areas] 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 ocean," the park said.

The fish is a female, easily identifiable by the long stalk on its head with a bioluminescent tip, used to attract prey in the dark deep-sea environment.

Females can grow up to 60 cm in length, but males are substantially smaller, reaching a maximum length of about 2 cm. This is because, according to the park, "their sole purpose is to find a female and help her reproduce."

Males latch onto the females with their teeth, withering away and dying during reproduction.

The fish is currently in the possession of the California Department of Fish & Wildlife and will likely wind up at an educational institution.

There are more than 200 species of anglerfish, and most live in the depths of the Atlantic and Antarctic oceans, but there are some species that can be found in shallower, tropical locales.

PHOTOS: THE ANGLER FISH UP CLOSE

Here are photos of the angler fish, posted to Instagram by Crystal Cove State Park:

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