The giant oarfish (Regalecus glesne) is a species of oarfish of the family Regalecidae. It is an oceanodromous species with a worldwide distribution, excluding polar regions. Other common names include Pacific oarfish, king of herrings, ribbonfish, and streamer fish.

R. glesne is the world’s longest bony fish. Its shape is ribbon-like, narrow laterally, with a dorsal fin along its entire length, stubby pectoral fins, and long, oar-shaped pelvic fins, from which its common name is derived. Its coloration is silvery with dark markings, and its fins are red. Its physical characteristics and its undulating mode of swimming have led to speculation that it might be the source of many “sea serpent” sightings.

Relationship with humans

R. glesne is not fished commercially, but is an occasional bycatch in commercial nets, and as such it has been marketed.

Because they are not often seen and because of their size, elongated bodies, and appearance, giant oarfish are presumed to be responsible for some sea serpent sightings. Formerly considered rare, the species is now suspected to be comparatively common, although sightings of healthy specimens in their natural habitat are unusual.

The giant oarfish and the related R. russelii are sometimes known as “earthquake fish” because they are popularly believed to appear before and after an earthquake.

Read more about the giant oarfish here on Wikipedia!

The photograph above was alleged to show U.S. servicemen in Laos during the Vietnam War with a captured Mekong Dragon, Phaya Naga, Mekong Naga, or enormously overgrown eel. It was widely circulated in Laos ([1]). The photograph was actually taken in 1996 and shows a giant oarfish (Regalecus glesne) found on the shore of the Pacific Ocean near San Diego, California. This extremely rare specimen was 23 ft (7.0 m) long and weighed 300 lb (140 kg). The original photograph can be seen on page 20 of the April 1997 issue of All Hands.