by Craig Weatherby
The Giant Oarfish captured on film was estimated to measure a jaw-dropping 16 to 32 feet in length.
The men in the photo at right are holding a dead Oarfish... one that may only be half the size of the one filmed in the Gulf, and just a third of the documented maximum.
The biggest members of this bizarre species may be the biggest bony fish in the world. (Sharks have cartilage, not bone.)
It's likely that some of the “sea serpent” sightings by sailors over the centuries stem from the size, dragon-like dorsal fin, bright red streamers, and sinuous, snake-like motions of the Giant Oarfish (Regalecus glesne).
Oarfish sightings and landings are infrequent, but happen regularly around the world... usually when one was dead or dying, at the surface or washed onshore.
You'll find the story behind the landmark Oarfish video below. Just click the play button... if you have trouble, see it at You Tube.
The video was shot in the Gulf of Mexico by scientists from Louisiana State University and the UK's National Oceanography Centre.