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1 Mar, 2019 18:04

Mysterious alien-like fish makes epic journey to California beach (PHOTOS)

A large, weird sea creature that washed up on a California beach looking like an alien is mystifying researchers who have no idea how the rare fish got all the way from the southern hemisphere to the West Coast of the US.
Mysterious alien-like fish makes epic journey to California beach (PHOTOS)

The strange seven-foot fish washed up at UC Santa Barbara's Coal Oil Point Reserve in Southern California and baffled all who studied its unusual round body and bulging eyes.

After much head-scratching and reaching out to fellow researchers around the world, it emerged that the bizarre creature was a very rare hoodwinker sunfish, or Mola tecta. So rare, in fact, that the species was only discovered in New Zealand in 2017.

“When the clear pictures came through, I thought there was no doubt. This is totally a hoodwinker,”said Marianne Nyegaard, the marine scientist who discovered the species. “I couldn't believe it. I nearly fell out of my chair.”

Although the fish has been identified, the mystery of how it wound up on a California beach when it has only been seen around New Zealand and Australia has yet to be solved.

“How did it cross the equator and turn up by you guys?” Nyegaard wondered. “It's intriguing what made this fish cross the equator."

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