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Rare sea creature washes ashore in Southern California

wptv-hoodwinker-sunfish-.jpg
Posted at 3:46 PM, Mar 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-01 16:05:08-05

SCROLL BELOW FOR PHOTOS OF THE FISH

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) — A big sea creature that washed ashore in Southern California has been identified as a hoodwinker sunfish, a recently identified rare species thought to live in the Southern Hemisphere.

The University of California, Santa Barbara, says the fish was spotted last week at Sands Beach in the university's Coal Oil Point Natural Reserve.

An intern alerted a reserve staffer who initially thought it was a type of local sunfish.

She posted photos to the reserve's Facebook page, which drew the attention of a university professor who examined the fish and posted photos to the iNaturalist online community.

That caught the eye of Marianne Nyegaard of Murdoch University in Australia, who identified the species in 2017.

She provided specific instructions on what to photograph and sample to confirm the species.