July 10, 2014

Massive School Of Anchovies Spotted Off The Coast Of La Jolla

Brett Smith for - Your Universe Online

Probably best known as a controversial pizza topping, anchovies were spotted in a massive school just off the coast of La Jolla, California by researchers from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography on Tuesday.

The Scripps researchers said they hadn’t seen a school that large in around 30 years and could only speculate as to why so many fish had grouped together just a few yards from the beach.

The massive school of anchovies was spotted by Scripps communications officer Robert Monroe, who immediately ran down a nearby pier to capture the phenomenon with a GoPro camera, according to the Los Angeles Times.

"It was remarkable. From a distance it looked like an oil slick and you think 'What happened?' and then you get up close and it's amazing," he said. "It's like watching the motion of a lava lamp."

After capturing the swarm from the pier, Monroe tossed the GoPro to a few Scripps graduate students in the water nearby. The researchers then collected a few specimens before the school moved on to other waters.

According to Phil Hastings, a marine biology professor at Scripps, the school moved north and dissipated by Tuesday evening.

“The schools part as swimmers or sea lions” approach, he said according to the Times of San Diego. “Leopard sharks were feeding on them this morning.”

Hastings noted that the water temperature near the pier that Monroe was standing on was 74 degrees F on Tuesday, “pretty much the warmest water the species has been reported in.”

He added that the mystery behind the school’s appearance will probably never be solved.


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