Underwater Explorers Discover a Huge and Unusual ‘Quake Fish’ With Peculiar Teeth Marks On It

By: Alec Donaldson | Last updated: Aug 12, 2023

A group of divers found something unusual while going on their usual dive in the ocean. They encountered a massive deep-sea fish known as the Russell’s oarfish that had something unique.

It had peculiar round bite marks along its elongated body that added to the intrigue surrounding this enigmatic fish. The size and nature of the bitemarks made divers believe that the bites were from a Cookie-cutter shark.

The Injured Russell's Oarfish

The divers saw the injured Russell’s oarfish close to the water’s surface off the coast of Ruifang, Taiwan. This injury made the fish almost the end of its life, but the diving instructor Wang Cheng-Ru was able to take pictures.


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He explained that the fish may have retreated into shallower waters due to its deteriorating condition. Wang went on to say that despite having years of scuba diving expertise, he had never come across an oarfish before.


The Harbinger of Doom

This Russell’s oarfish was around two meters long and looked eerily like a sea snake. Oarfish are called “Harbinger of Doom.” This is because they are linked to earthquakes and bad luck in Japanese folklore.


Source: John Barkla/Wikimedia Commons

You only see them just before earthquakes and natural disasters. These fish are part of the longest ocean resident as they can grow up to 17 meters long and weigh over 200 kilograms.

The Nature of the Harbinger of Doom

Oarfish are intriguing creatures with their unique adaptations. They inhabit most of the world’s oceans, except polar regions, and can tolerate a wide range of temperatures. Typically found at depths of up to 1,000 meters, oarfish sightings are rare.


Source: Katia Cao/Wikimedia Commons

Oarfish have a unique dorsal fin, an unscaled body coated with guanine, and a slimy, silvery protective covering. Occasionally, these mysterious fish wash ashore after storms or sustain significant injuries.

Setting the Record Straight

In August 2022, the Ecuadoran Geophysical Institute debunked the myth connecting oarfish to earthquakes. The organization highlighted its lack of scientific support. Oarfish continue to amaze and spark interest in people.


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It is important to distinguish reality from myth even if oarfish continue to capture people’s imaginations and cultural notions. Further investigation and studies are needed to completely comprehend the mysteries surrounding oarfish and its role in the natural environment since seeing any is rare.