San Francisco: A seven feet long, “strange looking” fish has washed up on a California beach, leaving researchers baffled about the origins and whereabouts of the species, the media reported.
The fish washed up at UC Santa Barbara’s Coal Oil Point Reserve last week. The researchers first thought it was a similar and more common species of sunfish until someone posted photos on a nature site, CNN reported on Thursday.
The fish was finally identified as the hoodwinker sunfish which has never been seen in North America before.
“When the clear pictures came through, I thought there was no doubt. This is totally a hoodwinker, ” Marianne Nyegaard, a marine scientist who discovered the species in 2017, told CNN. “I couldn’t believe it.”
Nyegaard spent years chasing the hoodwinker sunfish before she located and named the fish.
All cases of the big fish were found in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Chile, she said.
Except for once in the 1890s, when drawings and records documented the fish appearing in the Netherlands.
The researchers are not sure how the fish wandered far from home on its own or as part of a population of hoodwinkers in North America that’s yet to be discovered.