An Oarfish (Regalecus sp.) was found in Gusa, Cagayan de Oro today.

Source: Jude Cyril Roque Viernes Facebook, via Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines Facebook

Photos: Elesa Rosé Jane Allocod Facebook

Philippines: Mysterious ‘Sea Serpent’ Oarfish Resurfaces
Pictures of an Oarfish washed ashore in the Philippines remind us how little we know about this elusive creature.
By Rachel Brown, 17th February 2017;

In another instance of a rare and poorly understood phenomenon, several beachgoers pulled a deceased Oarfish from the sea in Carmen, Agusan Del Norte, Philippines on Wednesday, after fisherman had caught one off the same coast just days before.

Giant Oarfish (Regalecus glesne) were first sighted in 1772 and crop up occasionally in temperate and tropical shallows around the world, usually two or three within a short period of time. Although very little is known about why this happens, some scientists have suggested that the deep-dwelling species—which usually makes its home in the mesopelagic zone 200 to 1,000 meters below the surface—is sometimes pushed ashore by strong currents and buffeting winds.

Although a vast majority of beachside Oarfish sightings end with the fish’s death, it’s unclear whether they’re obeying some biological imperative to seek the surface when dying, or whether the strange circumstances themselves are the cause of death.

At over 30 feet the world’s longest bony fish, Oarfish have all the makings of great drama: their superlative size, surprising beauty, and connection to myth continue to shuffle this creature into the limelight, only for it to swim away again.

Ironically for an animal about which so little is known, it goes by an abundance of names. In Palau, it’s called the rooster fish for the spiny red fins bristling from its head; the Japanese know it as the “Messenger from the Sea God’s Palace” and a herald of earthquakes. The elongated fish, though not a reptile, is thought to be the inspiration for legends of sea serpents found around the world.

Because Oarfish normally live at a depth which humans still struggle to explore, very little research has been done on them. Specimens are few and far between—in addition to the sightings’ rarity, fishermen who haul up Oarfish as unwanted bycatch usually throw them back, unable to sell the “flabby, gooey” meat at market. And when specimens are collected, there’s usually little information gleaned: dead specimens yield scant information in comparison to observing live animals in their natural habitat.

A 2011 video captured by a research ROV in the Gulf of Mexico provides a fascinating glimpse at this habitat. While collecting data about the environmental effects of a deep-sea oil rig, Mark Benfield of the GulfSERPENT Project came across this silver fish undulating like a submerged comet through the view screen.

“The deep sea is home to so many organisms we seldom see, and the more chances we get to get out there with ROVs, the more we will learn,” Benfield told National Geographic in 2013.

The intrigue remains. Is there any correlation, as myth and anecdotal evidence would suggest, between the appearance of Oarfish in shallow waters and the earthquakes that seem to follow? Will studying the Oarfish reveal more about the deep oceans, part of our own planet and yet as distant and unknown as the reaches of space just barely out of our grasp?

It seems we’ll have to wait for the next Oarfish to ripple into view.

Source: National Geographic News

Residents hold the dead Oarfish that was found off the coast of Agusan del Norte on Wednesday, February 15.
Photo: Elesa Rosé Jane Allocod Facebook

Philippines: Another Oarfish found in Agusan del Norte
15th February 2017;

Another Oarfish (Regalecus sp.) was found Wednesday, February 15, in Carmen, Agusan del Norte, a week after fishermen caught a 10-foot long dead sea serpent off the coast of the same town.

Netizen Elesa Jane Allocod posted on her Facebook account photos of the giant sea creature that was found off the coast in Barangay Rojales.

The first Oarfish, which was 10-foot long, was found on February 8, two days before the 6.7-magnitude earthquake that hit Surigao City.

Photos of dead Oarfishes have sparked debates over the Internet, as some said the fish can predict earthquakes.

The discovery also sparked discussions on social media.

According to the National Geographic’s article, 5 Surprising Facts About the Oarfish That Has Been Washing Up on Beaches, Oarfishes have been known to forecast earthquakes.

The article quoted Kiyoshi Wadatsumi, a scientist who studies earthquakes at e-PISCO, as saying that deep-sea creatures living near the sea bottom are more sensitive to movements of active faults.

The Surigao quake last February 10 left eight people dead and injured more than 200 others. Authorities pegged the damage at almost P700 million.

The last major earthquake to hit Surigao was in 1879, with a magnitude of 7.4, according to Renato Solidum Jr., director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).

Solidum told SunStar Philippines that the probability of another strong earthquake is low but the agency is not discounting it.

Source: Sun.Star

Another Oarfish (Regalecus sp.) was found in P-1 Rojales, Carmen Agusan del Norte today.

Source: Elesa Rosé Jane Allocod Facebook, via Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines Facebook

Another Oarfish (Regalecus sp.) found at Agata Mining, near Tubay yesterday.

Source: Clark Van Facebook

Another Oarfish (Regalecus sp.) was found in Bontoc, Southern Leyte yesterday.

Source: Jekie Quirong Facebook, via Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines Facebook