Strange, 6.5-Foot Sea Creature Found in New Zealand

posted: 02/11/16
by: Danny Clemens

Museum officials have identified a strange sea creature whose remains were recently located on New Zealand's Waitarere Beach.

Earlier this week, veterinarian Maria Lombard uploaded to Facebook photos of the fascinatingly long creature's remains, which garnered significant local media attention:

We saw this at Waiterere beach this morning. The skull is cartilage - like and just over 2m long. I think it may be an eel??

Posted by Maria Lombard on Monday, February 8, 2016

Lombard used a measuring tape to size up her unexpected find, which was over 2 meters, or 6.5 feet, long.

See Also: 13-Foot Giant Oarfish Washes Up on Catalina Island

In a follow-up tweet, curators from the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa revealed that the cartilaginous mass once comprised the brain case and vertebrae of a New Zealand smooth skate (Dipturus innominatus), a bottom-dwelling animal found throughout the waters surrounding the island nation.

The IUCN currently considers the species Near Threatened, as it is often caught by trawl fisheries as bycatch. While the species is relatively abundant, it reproduces slowly and is frequently caught before reaching sexual maturity, making it more vulnerable to the impacts of overfishing.


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