Experienced divers swimming off the coast of California have noticed something out of the ordinary in the past few years – a small, black-and-white striped fish unlike any other in the region.
The barred knifejaw, also called the striped beakfish, is normally found in Pacific Ocean waters surrounding Asia.
And while it might be the most conspicuous, scientists say it’s not the only non-native species that’s ended up in this area thousands of miles from home.
A recent study identified nearly 300 Japanese coastal marine species that ended up on the wrong side of the ocean after the massive tsunami generated by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake that hit Japan back in 2011.
Divers have reported seeing the striped fish swimming in Monterey Bay since December 2014, according to Fox 5 San Diego.
In a study published to the journal Science last year, researchers say hundreds of species ended up in US waters after the devastating 2011 quake as a result of ‘tsunami-driven rafting.’
Along with the barred knifefish, the team noted the presence of 289 invertebrate and fish species native to Japan now living along the West Coast.
Creatures both alive and dead were carried more than 4,000 miles across the ocean by debris, the experts say; another barred knifefish, for example, was found in the stern well of a Japanese fishing vessel in 2013 in Pacific County, Washington.
The team also found barnacles, isopods, amphipods, mussels, shipworms, and limpet.