Deep Sea Encounter: Diving with Rare Giant Oarfish

A group of divers recently encountered a rare giant oarfish off the coast of Taiwan. The video of the encounter, which was originally posted by diving instructor Wang Cheng-Ru in June, shows the group swimming alongside the deep-sea fish in shallow water off the coast of Ruifang District in the northeast corner of the island.

Footage of giant oarfish is rare, as they are typically found at depths between 200 and 1,000 feet below the surface of the ocean. However, the video shows that the oarfish in this case appears to be injured.

“Many amazing animals can be found off Taiwan’s northeast coast, but this was my first encounter with a giant oarfish,” Cheng-Ru told Newsweek.

Giant oarfish are the longest bony fish in the world, and can grow up to 60 feet in length. They are characterized by their scaleless body, which is covered in silvery guanine. Oarfish are found in non-Arctic waters around the globe, and their diet consists primarily of plankton.

While sightings of live oarfish are rare, they are not considered to be dangerous to humans. Oarfish do not have teeth, and they feed on plankton by filtering it through their gill rakers.

In Japanese folklore, oarfish sightings are seen as an omen of an impending disaster. The fish is called “ryugu no tsukai,” which translates to “Messenger from the Sea God’s Palace.” According to legend, the fish are sent from the palace to the surface to warn people of coming earthquakes.

However, scientists believe that there is no connection between oarfish sightings and earthquakes. Hiroyuki Motomura, a professor of ichthyology at Kagoshima University, told the New York Post that he believes oarfish tend to rise to the surface when they are sick or injured, which is why they are often found dead.

The recent sighting of a giant oarfish off the coast of Taiwan is a reminder of the amazing creatures that live in our oceans. While these fish are rare, they are a fascinating and important part of the marine ecosystem.

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