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Anglerfish Found on Newport Beach

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An 18-inch female black anglerfish washed up on the shore of Newport Beach on May 2. It was found fully intact in a Marine-protected area at Crystal Cove State Park by a beach visitor. This Pacific football species of anglerfish typically lives up to 3,000 feet below the ocean surface. 

“Though the fish itself is not rare, it is extremely rare to see one this intact along a beach in southern CA,” Davey’s Locker Sportfishing and Whale Watching said in a post on their Facebook page

Crystal Cove State Park also reported on the discovery of this species of anglerfish in a Facebook post, stating that there are over 200 anglerfish species worldwide and that the discovered anglerfish was most likely a Pacific football fish. 

The post says the discovery of the anglerfish is “strange and fascinating ” and that “it is unknown how or why the fish ended up on the shore.”

According to Crystal Cove State Park, female anglerfish are drastically larger than males. While the maximum length for a male anglerfish is about 1 inch, females can reach up to a size of 24 inches. During mating seasons, males latch on to the larger females’ bodies and merge with the larger females, becoming one singular organism.

Anglerfish have teeth “like pointed shards of glass” and can prey on organisms of a similar size. Females possess a bioluminescent bulb on their head used to lure their prey.

The fish is currently being held by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. It is unknown whether the fish will be disposed of, showcased or studied. 

Henry Lopez is a City News intern for the spring 2021 quarter. He can be reached at henryel@uci.edu .