EASTHAM (CBS) – A rare fish find on a Cape Cod beach has marine researchers excited.
The Center for Coastal Studies shared photos Wednesday of a tiny silver fish found among the rocks of Eastham’s Coast Guard Beach over the weekend.
Environmental researcher Tasia Blough recognized the lifeless creature as a myctophid, described by the center as “a deep ocean fish covered with light organs.” She and her partner Owen Nichols, director marine fisheries research at the center, studied it under a UV light and the fish revealed its stunning bioluminescence.
Blough has studied the silvery lightfish before on a 2007 research project, but didn’t expect to find one on the Cape.
“We sampled night and day at depths of 1000+ meters to collect them,” she wrote in a Facebook comment. “So cool to find one right at my feet 12 years later!”
The center says there are records of finding this kind of fish on local beaches in the 1800s, but believes the odds of encountering them on Cape Cod are “infinitesimally small.” They may reach the beach after being carried in the bellies of bigger fish like cod and pollock.
“The natural world never ceases to amaze,” the center said on Facebook.