Last week, an unusual sea creature washed up on the shores of the Oregon Coast—a 3-foot, 100-pound opah.
Also known as a moonfish, the bright orange and blue critter has cartoonish, large eyes and is often found in open tropical waters. So it came as a surprise last week when Seaside Aquarium uploaded images to its Facebook page of a dead moonfish stranded on Sunset Beach, just south of Fort Stevens State Park.
“It created quite the stir at the Aquarium,” they wrote. “Folks were encouraged to come take a look at this beautiful and odd-looking fish.”
Moonfish near Oregon aren’t unheard of, but finding one in pristine condition awash on the north coast shore is incredibly rare. The fish quickly made international news—it’s now been covered in The Guardian and major national outlets like The Washington Post.
Because they often live in deep waters, little is known about the lives of moonfish. The Oregon specimen could help change that. The fish has been frozen until a local school group is selected to dissect the marine animal, after which it’ll be studied further by scientists.