WILDLIFE

Massive rare sunfish washes ashore on Oregon beach

Jun 10, 2024, 7:00 AM | Updated: 7:27 am

This image shows a hoodwinker sunfish that washed ashore on June 3, 2024, on a beach in Gearhart, O...

This image shows a hoodwinker sunfish that washed ashore on June 3, 2024, on a beach in Gearhart, Oregon. (Tiffany Boothe/Seaside Aquarium/AP)

(Tiffany Boothe/Seaside Aquarium/AP)

SEASIDE, Oregon — According to the Seaside Aquarium, a massive hoodwinker sunfish washed up on a beach in northeastern Oregon.

CNN reports the fish was found on June 3 on Gearhart Beach in Seaside, Oregon.

Initially believed only to inhabit the Southern Hemisphere, the fish’s appearance on the Oregon beach challenges that theory.

“A few have recently washed ashore in California and one as far north as Alaska,” Seaside Aquarium said in a Facebook post.

Mariann Nyegaard, a New Zealand researcher, spoke with the aquarium. She said this species was not a “typical” ocean or Mola mola sunfish. Rather, she identified it as a hoodwinker sunfish.

“This fish, hiding in plain sight, has most likely been seen/washed ashore in the Pacific Northwest before but was mistaken for the more common Mola mola,” the aquarium said.

This species is rare. It may be the largest to ever wash up on shore, according to Nyegaard and the aquarium.

As of Saturday, the fish was still on the beach, according to an email from the aquarium to CNN.

“This fish is still on Gearhart beach and will probably remain for a few more days, maybe weeks as their tough skin makes it hard for scavengers to puncture,” the aquarium said. “It is a remarkable fish and the aquarium encourages people to go see it for themselves.”

Devin Oldroyd is a digital content producer for KSL NewsRadio. Follow him on X.

Related: Tens of thousands of live salmon fell off a truck in Oregon – and into a creek

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Massive rare sunfish washes ashore on Oregon beach