US officials are baffled after a never-before-seen species of enormous fish washed up on a desolate beach.
The large, round fish with orange and silver scales was identified as an opah by staff at Seaside Aquarium, northern Oregon after they attended the scene last week.
Tiffany Boothe, assistant manager at the aquarium, said the metre long, 45kg fish was the first of its kind to be seen in the area.
She added that it was not clear how this fish died, but she noted that it was in "great condition, meaning it was close to shore when it died."
The aquarium posted the find to Facebook which caused "quite a stir" as they encouraged as many people as possible to come and see the fish.
Heidi Dewar, a research biologist with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries, told Stuff that experts believe climate change could be a factor as they are usually found in tropical and sub-tropical waters.
Dewar said: "We are seeing some marine organisms moving northward as ocean temperatures increase."
There are some opah fish off the California coast.
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Opah, also known as a moonfish, can grow more than six feet long and more than 600 pounds.
The deepwater predatory fish is believed to be warm-blooded as it has blood vessels in its gills that allow it to circulate warm blood around its body.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, much remains unknown about the fish, including its average life span: "Little research on the basic biology and ecology of opah has been conducted."
Researchers will now be using the washed-up opah to learn more about the species.
It will reportedly remain frozen until later this year, when the aquarium says students will get a chance to dissect the fish, with help from the Columbia River Maritime Museum.
The contents of the stomach can help determine what the fish eat and where they live.
The skeleton will then be saved by the aquarium and put on display.
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