LOS ANGELES (AP) — A 14-foot oarfish that washed ashore in Southern California last week was ready to become a mommy.
The serpent-like fish was dissected Monday. H.J. Walker of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography says marine biologists found the healthy female was ripe to spawn: Its 6-foot-long ovaries contained hundreds of thousands of eggs.
Walker says the fish had lost its tail somehow while alive and it had disc-shaped wounds from cookiecutter sharks, but those injuries weren't deadly.
In fact, it's unclear why the creature died, although Walker says it's possible the deep-water fish came too near the surface and the waves.
The oarfish was found Friday in Oceanside — five days after an 18-foot oarfish was discovered off of Catalina Island.
It's also unclear what killed that fish.