I don't want to be dramatic. Actually, scratch that—yes, I do. Because this isn't KQED Science, it's KQED Arts and Culture. And some of us over here (mostly me) are not equipped for the moment when aqua monsters climb 3,000 feet out of their natural, deep sea habitats and lie dead on the shoreline in front of God and everyone.
That's what happened earlier this month on the shores of Crystal Cove State Park in Orange County, when this thing showed up.
If it were up to me, we'd be calling it a Toothy Terror Dome. Or an Armed Piranha, on account of that appendage sticking out of its head. Someone on Facebook suggested "Nope Fish," which I'd settle for too. But no. According to Crystal Cove State Park's very calm Facebook page, this razor-faced death pod is "most likely" called a Pacific Football Fish. And it's apparently part of the Anglerfish family, which contains 200 species. (Not a Thanksgiving table I'd want to visit, thanks.)
The Crystal Cove boffins say that the demon disc is a tricky little so-and-so, and uses that arm dangler to lure other creatures to their murky deaths. The "stalk on the head [has] bioluminescent tips," Crystal Cove says, "used to entice prey in the darkness of waters." As for the foolish creatures that end up falling for that whole source-of-light ruse? Why, they get gobbled up by "teeth, like pointed shards of glass, [that] are transparent."