Strange fish with teeth 'like pointed shards of glass' washes up on shore

The extraordinary anglerfish arrived intact, but far from home, on a California beach.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
2 min read

This anglerfish is likely a Pacific footballfish.

Crystal Cove State Park

Anglerfish are amazing denizens of the deep sea that look like the creation of a particularly feverish fantasy artist. The females dangle a bioluminescent lure to catch prey and engage in parasitic mating rituals with the much smaller males. One of these unusual animals mysteriously washed up on a California shore, leading to some wild photos of the eye-catching fish. 

Crystal Cove State Park near Laguna Beach posted some striking images of the deceased anglerfish to Facebook last week, identifying it as most likely a Pacific footballfish. 

"To see an actual angler fish intact is very rare and it is unknown how or why the fish ended up on the shore," the park wrote.

Happy #MPA Monday! . Last Friday morning an incredible deep sea fish washed up on shore in Crystal Cove State Park’s...

Posted by Crystal Cove State Park on Monday, May 10, 2021

The California Academy of Sciences offers up some information on the Pacific footballfish. It lives at the dark depths of 2,000 to 3,300 feet (600 to 1,000 meters) and it will eat whatever fits into its mouth, including fish and squid. 

Beach visitor Ben Estes originally found the fish and snapped a photo. The 18-inch-long (45 centimeter) fish was taken in by California Department of Fish and Wildlife. California State Parks said the fish itself isn't rare, but also confirmed its appearance on the shore was a very unusual sight.

Crystal Cove State Park offered up all sorts of descriptive words for the creature, including "strange," "fascinating" and "incredible." It described the transparent teeth as looking "like pointed shards of glass."

If the images aren't enough for you, and you desire more anglerfish action in your life, be sure to check out this rather intense video of anglerfish mating. Sweet dreams.

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