The Giant Oarfish (Regalecus glesne), also known as the king of herrings, a species of oarfish of the family Regalecidae, is the world's longest bony fish. Rarely sighted, it is found in all the world's oceans at depths from 300 to 1,000 metres (984 to 3,281 ft). Most sightings have been in the north Atlantic, with most specimens found either dead or dying in shallow waters.
Despite its nickname, the "king of herrings" is neither a true herring nor a close relative. According to the Great Book of Animals, its name comes from its crownlike appendages and from being sighted near shoals of herring, which fishermen thought were being guided by this fish. It is scaleless, ribbon-shaped and silvery with a long, red dorsal fin.
Regalecus glesne's specific epithet (glesne) is derived from the farm of Glesnæs, or the small village of Glesvær, on the west coast of Norway, not far from Norway's second largest city of Bergen, where the first registered oarfish observation was made by the Dane Ascanius in 1765 and 1769.
The giant oarfish is the world's longest bony fish. Its total length has been documented to reach 17 m (56 ft), and it can weigh up to 300 kg (661 lb). Its length and bizarre appearance are presumed to be responsible for some sea serpent sightings.
On December 10, 2010, a 4 m (13 ft) live specimen was found on the south coast of Sinaloa state in Mexico. One of the fisherman who captured it said it might be the devil and feared it might swallow them.
On April 6, 2011, a live specimen measuring 3.5 m (11.5 ft) was found off the east coast of Taiwan, nearly a month after the devastating tsunami hit Japan in March. The Taiwanese fishermen believed that it surfaced to the shallow water because of the earthquake in Japan. They gave it the nickname "Earthquake Fish."
On October 12, 2012, a specimen measuring approximately 4.57 m (15 ft) washed onto Cabo San Lucas beach in Mexico but it's understood its carcass has been taken by sea wardens and discarded into the sea before detailed tests and measurements could be taken.
- Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2006). "Regalecus glesne" in FishBase. April 2006 version.
- (1997).The Great Book of Animals. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Courage Books, Running Press Publishers. p.102. ISBN 0-7624-0137-0.
- Fishes. 1907. David Starr Jordan. Page 683
- "Rare 'King of Herrings' found off Swedish coast". Yahoo! News. 12 May 2010. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100512/ap_on_fe_st/eu_odd_sweden_giant_herring. Retrieved 2010-05-13.[dead link]
- Encyclopedia of Fishes, Second Edition, p 157, Paxton, et al.,(Eds), 1998, Academic Press
- 4:42 p.m. ET. "Fisherman's find: rare, 12-foot-long creature". MSNBC. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37114903/ns/technology_and_science-innovation/. Retrieved 2010-05-14.
- Capturan en Teacapán raro pez
- Glover, C.J.M. in Gomon, M.F, J.C.M. Glover & R.H. Kuiter (Eds). 1994. The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. State Print, Adelaide. Pp. 992.
- Olney, J.E. Ii Paxton, J.R. & W.N. Eschmeyer (Eds). 1994. Encyclopedia of Fishes. Sydney: New South Wales University Press; San Diego: Academic Press . Pp. 240.
- Bourton, J. Giant bizarre deep sea fish filmed in Gulf of Mexico BBC News 8 February 2010.