PORTLAND, Ore. - Fish with protruding fangs, a slithery body and bulging eyes have been washing up on Oregon shorelines recently – and experts are unsure why.
Oregon State Parks announced Monday on social media that several of these unusual-looking fish, known as lancetfish, have washed ashore in recent weeks from Nehalem south to Bandon.
"These deep-sea fish live in tropical and subtropical waters and can migrate as far north as the Bering Sea to feed," OSP wrote. "No one is sure why they are washing ashore."
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries, lancetfish sometimes grow to more than seven feet long. These fish swim to depths more than a mile below the sea surface.
"It's interesting that we catch a lot of these fish that we don't know much about because people don't eat them," research oceanographer Phoebe Woodworth-Jefcoats told NOAA Fisheries in 2018. "And I think it's exciting that we're still learning really basic science information about the marine food web and the ocean."
Blood-sucking sea creatures washes ashore
The nearly 3-foot-long sea lamprey was found by animal caretaker Jarco Havermans as he walked along the high tide line of a beach in Texel.
The museum said sea lampreys do not have a jaw but instead have a sucker-shaped mouth with teeth in it. They attack fish to suck the blood out. They belong to the oldest group of vertebrates, the Agnatha, which existed more than 400 million years ago before there were fish with jaws.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.