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'Creepy-looking' lancetfish washes ashore in La Jolla

The lancetfish is typically found 6,000 feet beneath the ocean and its favorite food is the lancetfish. They're known cannibals.

SAN DIEGO — Deep-sea creatures washing ashore in San Diego have scientists saying they’re thrilled for the sighting while locals say it’s a bit of a shock.

"I would’ve thought it was an alien or something, doesn’t it look like that?" said one San Diegan.

"Well, that’s a creepy-looking fish," said another. 

But it's not just any fish. A four-foot lancetfish washed ashore in La Jolla Wednesday afternoon.

"[It is] a medium-sized open ocean predator; a long slender fish [with] a black back and silver belly. [It's] very long [with an] almost blue-green black dorsal fin," said oceanographer Elan Portner.

He said the lancetfish is typically found 6,000 feet beneath the ocean and its favorite food is the lancetfish. They're known cannibals.

"It's one of their favorite foods," said Portner.

Another strange-looking deep sea dweller, an anglerfish known as a Pacific Football Fish washed up on Black’s Beach last week.

"[It's] a brown dark-colored fish that lives in the deep ocean. It has a very large mouth with very fine sharp teeth and it has a lure on the top of its head to lure prey," said Portner.

The football fish is found between 2,000 to 3,000 feet below. 

Why these creatures come ashore, Portner said, comes down to a few reasons. 

"Maybe they’re chasing prey onto shore, maybe they’re dying were unable to navigate anymore," said Portner.

He said this isn't the first time we have some creatures wash ashore.

"The open ocean is the largest habitat on the planet. It's full of these amazing diversity of these crazy-looking fishes and many other types of animals and every once in a while by chance we get a glimpse of them," said Portner.

Scientists said it will happen again, so if you're lucky enough to see a creature like the lancetfish or football fish, take a picture and let the Scripps Institution of Oceanography know what you're seeing.