Portland/ Parks & Nature
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Published on May 19, 2024
Rare Deep-Sea Marvel Astonishes at Cannon Beach: Pacific Football Fish's First Record in Oregon WatersSource: DiscoverWithDima, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Locals at Cannon Beach were in for a surprise when an aquatic visitor from the deep unknown made an unexpected appearance on their shores. According to the Seaside Aquarium, a deep-sea dweller, typically accustomed to the pitch-black ocean depths, has been discovered by beachcombers just south of Cannon Beach. The bizarre-looking creature is none other than the rare Pacific football fish, a kind of deep-sea angler fish, which until now has never been spotted in Oregon waters.

In what seems like a scene straight out of a marine biology pop-up book, the fish's discovery has left both locals and scientists scratching their heads. As per the Seaside Aquarium, "Only 31 specimens have been recorded around the world," and just a select few of these have turned up in places ranging from New Zealand to California. Before you go thinking it was a simple swim up the West Coast for this fish, remember we're talking about an animal that usually lurks in the crushing depths of the ocean, far from a casual paddle.

Typically, residents of the ocean's twilight zone, these angler fish are known for their bioluminescent lure, used to attract prey in the darkness. The fish that washed up near Cannon Beach adds a mysterious chapter to the books of Oregon's coastal history. KOIN reported that the aquarium emphasized the rarity of such an encounter and noted it as the first for the state's coastline.

Angler fish like the one found are no small fry—they’re a remarkable showcase of evolution's answer to the 'eat or be eaten' dilemma faced by deep-sea creatures. While not a daily sight for beach wanderers, their appearance onshore provides valuable opportunities for researchers. Details about the discovery are still surfacing, but this much is clear: the Oregon coast has just proven that it can still surprise us with deep-sea enigmas washed up from its watery depths.