Rare 7-foot hoodwinker sunfish washes ashore on Oregon beach

Jun 8, 2024, 7:59 PM | Updated: 8:01 pm

This image shows a hoodwinker sunfish that washed ashore on June 3, 2024, on a beach in Gearhart, O...

This image shows a hoodwinker sunfish that washed ashore on June 3, 2024, on a beach in Gearhart, Oregon. (Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium, AP via CNN Newsource)

(Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium, AP via CNN Newsource)

(CNN) — A rare 7.3-foot hoodwinker sunfish washed ashore on the Oregon coast earlier this week, the Seaside Aquarium said.

The massive aquatic species was found north of Seaside in northwestern Oregon along Gearhart Beach on June 3.

A buzz on social media led to curious people “flocking to the beach to see this unusual fish”, according to the aquarium.

In photos shared by the aquarium, the giant odd-looking fish shaped like a bloated silver dollar appeared to be lying on its side in the sand with its mouth open.

The fish was initially believed only to occupy the Southern Hemisphere’s temperate waters, but “that theory would be challenged as a few have recently washed ashore in California and one as far north as Alaska,” according to Seaside Aquarium.

Not a typical sunfish

The aquarium said the news of the fish reached New Zealand-based researcher Mariann Nyegaard, who said images indicated this was not just any typical ocean, or Mola mola, sunfish.

Nyegaard recognized the species that washed up on Oregon’s coast as the hoodwinker sunfish, or Mola tecta. The researcher previously discovered the new sunfish species through her research and described the unique finding in a 2017 published paper.

“This fish, hiding in plain sight, has most likely been seen/washed ashore in the Pacific Northwest before but was mistaken for the more common Mola mola,” according to the aquarium.

Nyegaard contacted the aquarium to request genetic samples of the fish and the aquarium took additional images and measurements, which led to the conclusion “that this may be the largest specimen ever sampled.”

The sea creature remains on the beach as of Saturday, the aquarium confirmed to CNN in an email.

It “will probably remain for a few more days, maybe weeks as their tough skin makes it hard for scavengers to puncture,” the aquarium said on Facebook.


KSL 5 TV Live

National News

First responders arrive at Oaks Park for a ride that is stuck with multiple riders in Portland, Ore...

Associated Press

Crews rescue 28 people trapped upside down high on Oregon amusement park ride

Emergency crews have rescued 28 people after they were stuck for about half an hour dangling upside down high on a ride at a century-old amusement park in Oregon.

5 hours ago

The OnlyFans logo is seen on a computer monitor in this posed photo, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023, in St....

Associated Press

Former Nashville officer arrested after allegedly participating in an adult video while on duty

A former Nashville police officer has been arrested for two counts of felony official misconduct after law enforcement officials say he allegedly participated in an adult video while on duty.

11 hours ago

The bright purple color depicts auroras on Mars’ nightside that were detected by the ultraviolet ...

Ashley Strickland, CNN

A massive solar storm hits Mars, revealing a risk for future astronauts on the red planet

When the sun unleashed an extreme solar storm and hit Mars in May, it engulfed the red planet with auroras and an influx of charged particles and radiation, according to NASA.

14 hours ago

Catherine, Princess of Wales, pictured here in 2023, has said she is making “good progress” in ...

 Rob Picheta and Max Foster, CNN

Catherine, Princess of Wales, making ‘good progress’ against cancer and is set for first public appearance in months

Catherine, Princess of Wales, has said she is making “good progress” in her recovery from cancer, and will make her first public appearance in months at the King’s official birthday celebration on Saturday.

14 hours ago

FILE - A bump stock is displayed in Harrisonburg, Va., on March 15, 2019. The Supreme Court will he...

Lindsay Whitehurst

Supreme Court strikes down Trump-era ban on bump stocks, gun accessories used in 2017 massacre

Supreme Court strikes down Trump-era ban on bump stocks, rapid fire gun accessories used in 2017 Las Vegas massacre.

18 hours ago

A local organization is keeping kids away from crime and drugs one bike at a time. (KDRV via CNN Ne...

Rocky Walker, CNN

Familia Unida: Keeping kids away from drugs and crime by teaching them to work with their hands

A local organization is keeping kids away from crime and drugs one bike at a time. Familia Unida is a nonprofit that teaches children to channel aggression and negative experiences into healthy and constructive life skills through activities such as bike and car building.

1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Rare 7-foot hoodwinker sunfish washes ashore on Oregon beach