“To see an actual angler fish intact is very rare and it is unknown how or why the fish ended up on the shore,” reads the Facebook post.
The Pacific Football Fish is one of more than 200 species of anglerfish worldwide, according to California State Parks, and is normally found in the dark depths of the ocean. The creature’s teeth are sharp and pointy like shards of glass and their “large mouth is capable of sucking up and swallowing prey the size of their own body.”
Due to the creature’s size and the protruding stalk on the top of the head, California State Parks said this is a female.
They added that females can grow to lengths of 24 inches while males only grow to be about an inch long. The sole purpose of the male fish is to help a female reproduce, reads the post.
“Males latch onto the female with their teeth and become ‘sexual parasites,’ eventually coalescing with the female until nothing is left of their form but their testes for reproduction,” reads the post.
“Seeing this strange and fascinating fish is a testament to the diversity of marine life lurking below the water’s surface …,” reads the Crystal Cove State Park post. “.. and as scientists continue to learn more about these deep sea creatures it’s important to reflect on how much is still to be learned from our wonderful ocean.”