Last week, or maybe the one before, a “nightmare” washed up on southern California’s most well-known bigger wave nude beaches. The angler fish, which is found in very very deep waters, has wicked looking teeth, is covered with spikes and looks extremely scary.
Now yesterday, or maybe the one before, a notoriously cannibalistic, sharp fanged hermaphrodite lancetfish, which also resides in deep waters, has followed it to shore just south of Blacks.
The Scripps Institute of Oceanography tweeted, “Another deep-sea curiosity washed up at La Jolla Shores: a 4-foot #lancetfish, a species that inhabits the open ocean from the surface to about 6,000 feet deep.”
The species also eats its own, has sharp fangs and is a hermaphrodite.
If, and why, lancetfish are cannibals is a great mystery to scientists but according to San Diego’s local NBC affiliate:
It’s true, according to Dr. Elan Portner, a post-doctoral fellow at SIO’s Choy Lab. Portner and a team of scientists under UC San Diego assistant professor Dr. Anela Choy have been studying the stomach contents of lancetfish.
What they found was that lancetfish appear to enjoy the taste of their own species. It might be a maturity thing, though, similar to some humans and green vegetables. Choy’s team found lancetfish gravitate to their own once they reach about 3 feet long.
Why they wait is a mystery, as are many other aspects of the lancetfish’s life.
The one on San Diego’s sand was four feet long, certainly having tasted its own flesh. Locals hope the combination of terrors, angler and lancet, will be enough to scare off hordes of VALs certain to descend from adjacent communities after Santa leaves Ben Gravy soft tops under Christmas trees.
Fingers crossed etc.