On May 7, a beachgoer in Newport Beach, Calif. discovered a deep-sea fish that had washed ashore and quickly alerted state park rangers and lifeguards because, well, the fish is terrifying.
Ben Estes was at Crystal Cove State Park when he found the 18-inch anglerfish, which was identified as a Pacific footballfish. The Pacific footballfish is one of 300 living species of anglerfish that are normally found at depths of more than 3,000 feet below sea level. It’s extremely rare to see one fully intact and on land.
Female Pacific footballfish have a long dorsal fin that extends in front of their mouths with a phosphorescent bulb at the end that can glow in the dark. Crystal Cove State Park described the fish’s teeth as “like pointed shards of glass” and added that their large mouths are capable of sucking up and swallowing prey the size of their own body.
Some might recognize the fish as the inspiration for the deep-sea fish that terrorized Dory and Marlin in Finding Nemo.
Instead of being mesmerized by the discovery, a lot of people on social media were terrified.
“The fact that is washed ashore is troubling,” one person tweeted in response to the story.
“How do people STILL think aliens don’t exist when we don’t even know what’s at the bottom of our oceans,” another asked.
“This is why I avoid the ocean,” someone joked.
It’s unknown where the fish will end up, but it’s currently in the custody of the California Department of Fish & Wildlife.
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