Three fish considered ‘messengers of the sea’ have washed ashore in the Philippines, sparking fears an earthquake may be about to hit.
The bizarre-looking oarfish were all found dead along the country’s coasts despite usually lying between 200 and 1,000metres beneath the waves.
All three have washed up since February 8 and were dotted across the northern coast of Mindanao island, in the south of the archipelago.
The flat, oar-like fish can grow to more than 17 metres.
The latest find was made on Saturday when locals spotted one of the creatures on a beach in the city of Cagayan de Oro, measuring around 15 feet long.
While it was alive at the time it later died.
Another washed ashore in the nearby province of Agusan del Norte in Mindanao island and fishermen caught the first on February 8 – two days before 6.7 magnitude earthquake struck the island.
Social media posts revealed how locals are fearing for their safety with oarfish often seen as signs of impending doom – and earthquakes.
The Japanese call the fish the “Messenger from the Sea God’s Palace” and several are said to have washed up on the country’s coasts before the tsunami in 2011.
Kiyoshi Wadatsumi, a specialist in ecological seismology, told the Japan Times in 2010 that “deep-sea fish living near the sea bottom are more sensitive to the movements of active faults than those near the surface of the sea.”