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Giant Oarfish

Aug 11, 2012

The Giant Oarfish or King of Herrings, an oarfish of the family Regalecidae, is the world's longest bony fish. Rarely sighted, it is found in all the world's oceans at depths from 300 to 1,000 metres (984 to 3,281 ft). Most sightings have been in the north Atlantic, with most specimens found either dead or dying in shallow waters.

Despite its nickname, the "king of herrings" is neither a true herring nor a close relative. According to the Great Book of Animals, its name comes from its crownlike appendages and from being sighted near shoals of herring, which fishermen thought were being guided by this fish. It is scaleless, ribbon-shaped and silvery with a long, red dorsal fin.

Regalecus glesne's specific epithet (glesne) is derived from the farm of Glesnæs, or the small village of Glesvær, on the west coat of Norway, where the first registered oarfish observation was made by the Dane Ascanius in 1765 and 1769.

The giant oarfish is the world's longest bony fish. Its total length has been documented to reach 17 m (56 ft), and it can weigh up to 300 kg (661 lb). Its length and bizarre appearance are presumed to be responsible for some sea serpent sightings.

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