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Bizarre Deep Sea Ragfish Washes Ashore in Alaska

Alaska Dispatch News

The ragfish is one of the weirdest looking fish you’ve ever seen.

The oceans still hold a lot of mysterious creatures in their depths. This rarely seen ragfish that washed up in Alaska is certainly one of them.

In southeast Alaska’s town of Gustavus, a state transportation worker recently spotted a 65-inch long ragfish near the docks.

Craig Murdoch, a fisheries biologist for the National Park Service, stated:

He was checking the dock and he noticed what he thought was a halibut. He went and checked it out, and it was a fish he had never seen before.

Ragfish, also known as Icosteus aenigmaticus, is a deep-water fish not commonly seen at the water surface. It is believed that adults inhabit waters of 4,000 feet and deeper, feeding on squid, octopus, and jellyfish. It has a limp body with mostly cartilaginous bones, lending a squid-like quality to its own flesh.

They are occasionally caught by commercial fishing vessels, and one study in 2001 estimated that more than 825 ragfish had been caught in the North Pacific from California to Japan.

Before the recent ragfish washing up at the docks, another one measuring 78 inches washed up near Bartlett Cove. In both cases, the fish were adult females full of eggs, but containing empty digestive tracts. Because of their elusive nature, it’s difficult to say how significant the two sightings are.

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Bizarre Deep Sea Ragfish Washes Ashore in Alaska