Rare deep-sea 'monster' washes up on San Diego beach

Illustration of a deep sea angler fish.
Illustration of a deep sea angler fish. Photo credit GettyImages

If you have Thalassophobia, a fear of the ocean and its vastness, or ichthyophobia, a fear of fish, then you may want to stop reading.

For the rest of us, check this out: A creature that looks like it was drawn to scare children was discovered by Jay Beiler when he was walking on Black's Beach on Nov. 13 in San Diego, KGTV reported.

Bieler reportedly thought he spotted a scary-looking jellyfish, but it turned out to be a rare deep-sea anglerfish, the Pacific footballfish.

The fish is known to live in the Pacific Ocean at depths of 2,000 to 3,300 feet, according to the California Academy of Sciences. According to National Geographic, the fish can grow over 3 feet long and can weigh as much as 110 pounds.

According to the academy, the fish have a globular body with prickly skin, needle-sharp teeth, minuscule eyes, and a strange stalk on their head.

The male footballfish will attach itself to a female as a "sexual parasite," according to the academy.

"I have never seen anything quite like this before," Beiler told NBC San Diego. "You know, I go to the beach fairly often, so I'm familiar with the territory, but I've never seen an organism that looked quite as fearsome as this."

A collection manager at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Ben Frable, shared with NBC that the last time a member of the fish's species was found on a San Diego beach was in 2001.

As for what happened to the fish, as knowing could help stop some nightmares, Frable said that crabs and seagulls most likely got to it.