When you live 1,600 feet below sea level, you expect a certain degree of privacy. That’s why little is known about the ethereal oarfish, a serpent-like deep sea creature that can grow to as long as 56 ft. in length.
The oarfish — really a family of several species — is the Guinness Book of World Records holder as the longest bony fish in the world, a group that includes almost all fish except sharks and rays. While the fish spend most of their lives in deep water, they can float to the surface when dying. Specimens found there have sparked the imagination of fishermen and might be the real-life basis of the Loch Ness Monster.
New video footage, published online on June 5th in the Journal of Fish Biology, sheds light on the oarfish. The video of the oarfish was taken by a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) back in August 2011 by a team of researchers. The footage shows an 8-foot-long, shimmering oarfish as it swims about 200 feet below the ocean surface. It is the longest and best-quality video captured to date, according to Mark Benfield, a researcher at Louisiana State University, who is the lead author of a paper describing the oarfish video. The strangely beautiful video shows the oarfish as it studies the bright lights of the research camera, undulating in place, before zipping off back into the deep.