Thursday, June 13, 2013

One of the world's longest fish is filmed in the Gulf of Mexico

Rare video was caught recently, possibly the first from remotely operated vehicles, of the illusive oarfish. The oarfish is one of the world's longest fish, reaching 6-8 meters in length, and could possibly be the star of sea serpent myths feared by ocean voyagers in history. This may be the first time the oarfish has been filmed alive and swimming with enough detail as to be identified. The oarfish is generally known only from dead or dying specimens that wash ashore.

Dr. Mark Benfield is the leader of the project called GulfSERPENT which filmed the oarfish in the Gulf of Mexico. The SERPENT project is an acronym for Scientific and Environmental ROV Partnership Using Existing Industrial Technology. It is a collaborative effort run by the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS) between scientists and oil and gas industry companies which gives scientists access to industrial, deep sea infrastructure and technology.

The results of this project are published in the Journal of Fish Biology. All of the videos of the oarfish may be watched at the Wilely Online Library's links of supporting information for The Journal of Fish Biology. Click this link for the best video which runs for several minutes and contains the most detail of the fish toward the end.