A giant underwater creature which inspired stories of sea monsters has been filmed by a tourist – but sadly came to a fishy end.
The elusive 15ft oarfish was spotted swimming in shallow waters in the Sea of Cortez in Mexico.
Tour guides from Un-Cruise Adventures, who organised the expedition, were thrilled to get up close to the mysterious creature.
However, after briefly delighting onlookers with its appearance, the oarfish beached itself on nearby Isla San Francisco and died.
Lia Stamatiou, expedition leader for Un-Cruise Adventures said: “I learned about the oarfish as one of those fish you study but never see.
“Seeing it swim up to us on the beach I was completely stunned.
“It was one of the most surprising and beautiful animals I had ever seen, with fantastic iridescent blue skin and a vibrant red dorsal fin.
“The fish resisted attempts by our crew to orient and push it off the beach.
“Eventually it raked itself on the sand to the point of exhaustion, and the birds descended to finish the job.”
Oarfish are more commonly found in open water at depths of up to 3,000ft, and can grow up to 36ft in length.
Most are observed dying or dead onshore and little is definitively known about their ecology.
Historians believe oarfish sightings may be responsible for stories of sea serpents in maritime folklore.