Strange giant fish founded in the Gulf of Mexico

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Extraordinary footage of a rarely seen giant deep sea fish has been captured by scientists in the Gulf of Mexico.

Researchers photographed a swimming oarfish (Regalecus glesne) for several minutes. They captured the footage using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) provided by oil companies, who are drilling in the gulf.

The oarfish, which can reach 17m long, has only been seen a few times before, either dying on at the surface of the sea or after it has been washed ashore.

Their strange appearance may have provided the basis for the sea serpent myths told by early ocean travellers.

Not only are they elongated, they also have a prominent dorsal fin which gives it an unusual “serpent” appearance.

A 4.5-metre specimen was found about six metres off shore from City Beach in Perth in 2005.

An oarfish has a long dorsal fin that runs the length of its body and appears to ripple when swimming, but no tail fin, the Australian Museum says.

It also has tiny spines that stick out from the pelvic fin, which were originally believed to “row” in a circular motion to propel the fish, hence its name.

But it is now believed the fins are taste sensors rather than propellers.

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