With its gaping jaws, cold glassy eyes and slithering muscular body it looks like a nightmare from 20,000 leagues under the sea.
Yet this monstrous sea creature is not a tentacle of the Kraken or a relative of Nessie, but an 18-foot oarfish.
Indeed it is thought that this serpentine behemoth may have inspired sailors’ legends. Spotted by marine scientist Jasmine Santana as she was snorkeling off the coast of Southern California, it is an extremely rare find.
Oarfish are rarely seen, especially one this size, because they like to dive around 3,000 ft deep.
Santana saw the fish shimmering in the water and after swimming around several times to check it was dead, decided to drag it to shore. She managed on her own for about 75 feet before others waded in to help her.
After being studied at Catalina Marine Institute it will be left on the sand for creatures to eat as it decomposes then its skeleton will be put on display, say CIMI.