Beachgoers in Oregon were recently wowed by the dazzling remains of an exotic 100-pound (45 kilograms) fish after it washed up hundreds of miles from its normal habitat.
The 3.5-foot-long (1 meter) opah, also known as a moonfish, was discovered on the shore of Sunset Beach in northern Oregon at 8 a.m. local time on July 14. The colorful creature had a mix of silvery and bright reddish-orange scales across its flattened circular body, with occasional white dots and glinting, golden eyes.
After receiving photos of the beached fish from a passerby, staff from the nearby Seaside Aquarium recovered the remains. Visitors at the aquarium were later treated to seeing the rare specimen up close and personal.
It is not clear what happened to the opah, but it was in "great condition, meaning it was close to shore when it died," Tiffany Boothe, assistant manager at the Seaside Aquarium, told The Washington Post.
Opah are pelagic fish, meaning they live in the open ocean, but are commonly found off the coast of California and around Hawaii, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). However, it is extremely rare to find one this far north. "I wouldn't expect an opah that size to normally be off Oregon," Heidi Dewar, a research biologist with NOAA Fisheries who was not involved in the recovery, told the Post.