Tourists captured rare footage of two giant oarfish off the coast of Baja, Calif., in a video released Monday, April 7.

Rare Video Of Giant Oarfish

The video was captured by a tourist while being guided by a staff member of Shedd Aquarium. Shedd Aquarium Vice President of Collection and Planning Tim Binder recorded the part of the video, and said, “It was one of the most stunningly beautiful fish I’ve ever seen.”

Oarfish are quite impressive fish, with long, slim bodies and a crown of fins – all clearly visible in the video. They are also incredibly long, with records showing proof of up to a 36-foot-long oarfish. Last year, an 18-foot oarfish was found near California’s Catalina Islands.

The giant oarfish is very rarely seen, as they prefer to live in deep waters, 3,300 feet below sea level. However, oarfish sightings have occurred before, most often when dead oarfish are found beached on the shore. The reason for the beachings has yet to be uncovered by scientists, but they tend to occur in “areas near upwellings of water from the deep."

In fact, the two oarfish spotted by the team of ecotourists were attempting to beach themselves when they encountered the group and eventually were able to flop onto shore. The fish died soon after, as the Shedd Aquarium tourists were not equipped to gather a specimen or help them in any way.

Myth: Oarfish Sightings Predict Earthquakes

Other myths suggest that oarfish beach themselves before a big earthquake, as they dwell so deep in the sea that they are more sensitive to movements along active fault lines. Believers cite the oarfish sightings that preceded the 8.8-magnitude earthquake in Chile in 2010 and the sightings around the Japanese coast before the big earthquake in 2011.

Olivia Truffaut-Wong

More on the Oarfish:

>Oarfish, 18-Foot Long Sea Creature, Found Near Catalina Island

> Oarfish Spotted In Spain More Likely A Shark Carcass

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