Scientists working in the Gulf of Mexico have finally managed to capture footage of a rare and mysterious serpentine-like creature called the oarfish. It's our first glimpse of this camera-shy fish in its natural habitat.

The oarfish (Regalecus glesne), which can reach upwards of 56 feet (17m) in length, has previously only been seen washed ashore or dying on the sea surface. Back in the old days, they were called sea serpents on account of their freakishly long bodies.


The unprecedented footage was taken at a depth of 196 feet (60m) by an ROV (remote-operated vehicle) operated by the SERPENT Project (Scientific and Environmental ROV Partnership using Existing iNdustrial Technology). This clip was one of five different encounters filmed between 2008 and 2011.

You'll get the best view of the fish by skipping to the 3:40 mark.

Back in 1996, US servicemen found a 23 foot (7m) long oarfish on the shore of the Pacific Ocean near San Diego.

The entire study can be read at the Journal of Fish Biology: "Five in situ observations of live oarfish Regalecus glesne (Regalecidae) by remotely operated vehicles in the oceanic waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico."