EASTHAM, MA â€“ A rare deep-sea fish was found on a Cape Cod beach this past weekend, according to the Center for Coastal Studies. Researchers Owen Nichols and Tasia Blough were walking on Coast Guard Beach in Eastham when they found the lifeless fish.
“Tasia quickly recognized it as a myctophid, a deep ocean fish covered with light organs,” the CCS said in a statement. “Owen spent the next hour trying to find another one with no luck. When they returned home, they used a UV light to examine the fish, revealing the exquisite detail of its bioluminescent light organs.”
According to Nichols, it is believed the fish is a Maurolicus muelleri, also known as a silvery lightfish. It can be found as deep as 1,500 meters, in the bathypelagic zone. They sometimes approach the surface at night, and are a known prey of cod and pollock.
The odds of finding such a fish on a Cape Cod beach “must be infinitesimally small,” the CCS said. The researchers were able to find a few records from beaches in Nahant and Provincetown in the early to mid-1800s.