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See the rare, 7-foot sunfish that washed ashore in northern Oregon

USA TODAY
Handout photo of a person observing a beached hoodwinker sunfish on Gearhart Beach in Gearhart, Oregon.

A rare hoodwinker sunfish washed ashore in northern Oregon Monday,

The over seven-foot sunfish, also known as Mola tecta, was found on Gearhart Beach in the seaside city of Gearhart approximately 80 miles northwest of Portland, according to a by the Seaside Aquarium in nearby Seaside.

The fish was initially believed to be a more common ocean sunfish (Mola mola) as people, "were flocking to the beach to see this unusual fish," according to the aquarium.

Handout photo of a beached hoodwinker sunfish on Gearhart Beach in Gearhart, Oregon.

However, when news of the fish reached New Zealand-based researcher Mariann Nyegaard, whose research , she identified that the coastal town may have had the rare creature on its hands.

The aquarium took measurements and tissue samples of the fish that confirmed it was a hoodwinker.

The fish remained on the beach as of Sunday morning, according to an aquarium official. The Thursday post said that the fish may remain there for, "a few more days, maybe weeks," due to the fish's tough skin.

Hoodwinker sunfish out of (normal) waters

The hoodwinker's habitat was originally believed to be centered around more temperate waters in the southern hemisphere.

But that theory has been challenged by the fish being found ashore in and as far north as Alaska. It is believed that previous hoodwinkers found ashore have been mistaken for the ocean sunfish.

Upon confirmation that the beached fish was a hoodwinker, Nyegaard told the aquarium that it may be the largest hoodwinker specimen ever sampled.