The giant oarfish is a rare deep sea fish said to be found in depths of over 1000 meters in the Atlantic Ocean. While sightings of the fish are few and far between, Japanese legend tells that when the fish does appear at the surface, it is a sign that an earthquake is imminent.

In the early morning of December 21, one such giant oarfish was found washed up on the shore of Makinohara city in Shizuoka prefecture, causing a commotion among the locals that another big earthquake may soon strike Japan.

After it was found, the 4.5 meter giant oarfish was hauled into a truck by 6 men and carried off to Izu Mito Sea Paradise, where it was measured, dissected and analyzed. It is said that the fish was washed up because of the tide.

While Japanese folklore may not be enough for most people to sound the alarms, there are scientific theories that deep sea fish are sensitive to the movements of tectonic plates and may act uncharacteristically before an earthquake.

It may also be noteworthy that dozens of great oarfish were found washed up on the shorts of Japan roughly a year before the March 11 earthquake in Tohoku. The photo above is from one of the oarfish found last year.

Only one fish has been found so far, so hopefully the earthquake he came to warn us about isn’t anything to truly worry about.

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