Well, America, if you’ve ever wondered what millions and millions of anchovies look like darting around the ocean in a huge, black-blue glob, wonder no more.
The largest school of anchovies anybody has seen in at least three decades first appeared near Scripps Pier in La Jolla, Calif. on Monday, reports San Diego Fox affiliate KSWB.
The huge band of gnarly pizza topping stretched over 100 yards wide at certain points in its swirly agglomeration. Each fish was perhaps six inches long.
Marine life-loving graduate students from UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography also showed up to film the scene from above the water and below it (using a GoPro camera).
Scientists have no idea why the anchovies suddenly showed en masse off the Southern California coast, or why they had swum north and just-as-suddenly dissipated by Tuesday night.
Scripps Institute professor Phil Hastings did note that the water temperature hit 74 degrees, “pretty much the warmest water the species has been reported in,” according to KSWB.
Hastings added the Scripps trapped a few of the fish for further study.
One of the grad students, Julia Fieldler, described the feeling of swimming in the midst of a jumble of tiny fish – and some leopard sharks feasting on them – as surreal.
“You don’t exactly know when you’re going to come out on the other side or if they’re going to disperse,” she told Hawaii News Now. “It was crazy.”
At about 2:20 minutes in the video, you can really see what the gigantic school of anchovies looked like.