Published on March 10th, 2014
What the “28-foot sea monster” in the photo actually is? (VIDEO)
In 1973, many U.S. soldiers on the Mekong River in Laos caught a huge fish that looked strikingly like the legendary sea serpent from the Asian mythology called “Queen of the Naga”. The photo and story have long circulated in the press. In reality, it was not a mythological monster, but a giant paddle fish, also known by the nickname “the king of the herrings”. The famous photograph was not made in 1973 in Laos, but in 1996, near San Diego.
Due to its size and fearsome appearance, the oarfish has inspired for thousands of years many legends and stories.
The Japanese believe that these beings come to the waters surface to predict large earthquakes or tsunamis. In fact, the fish do that when they are hurt or sick.
A oarfish can reach 8.5 meters in length and over, like a lizard, one can amputate 75% of his body.
Very few biologists were able to observe these creatures in their natural environment. One of them is Mark Benfield, who published a paper in 2013, reporting details about the lives of these fish.
Footage of him show a shining underwater oarfish, which is a method by which confuses predators.
The fish can swim horizontally and vertically and sits deep during the day and at night he approaches the water surface, as observed by Benfield.
The fish can “lose” its tail like a lizard. The tail makes up the largest part of the body, but not essential, this method helped him to escape from predators.
Interestingly, however, this species has few natural enemies. The oarfish has a gelatinous meat, bad taste, so no sharks or gulls feed on him.
The biologist Tyson Roberts believes that this self-amputation is not related to survival, but also allows the fish to drop a massive part of my body that no longer uses. In this way, he will consume less energy and will need less food.