LOS ANGELES — A 14-foot (4.2-meter) oarfish that washed ashore in Southern California last week was ready to become a mommy.
The serpent-like fish — one of two discovered along the coast last week — was dissected Monday and marine biologists found that the healthy female was ripe to spawn, H.J. Walker of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography said Tuesday.
The silvery fish’s 6-foot (1.8-meter)-long ovaries contained hundreds of thousands of eggs that were nearly ready to be released, Walker said.
The fish had lost its tail somehow while alive and it had disc-shaped wounds from cookiecutter sharks, but those injuries wouldn’t have been deadly, Walker said.
In fact, it’s unclear why the creature died, although Walker said it was possible the deep-water fish came too close to the surface, where it may have been knocked around by waves.
The oarfish washed up on a beach in the San Diego…
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