Mongitores Monstrous Fish

Mystery Fish of the Mediterranean Sea.

Scientific name: Oxypterus mongitori, given by Constantin Samuel Rafinesque in 1814.

pP'hysical description: Length, 45 feet 6 inches. Circumference, 23 feet 7 inches. Blowhole. Two dorsal fins. Tail, 10 feet 2 inches long. Distribution: Mediterranean Sea, off Sicily. Significant sighting: In September 1741, a monstrous fish was stranded near Licata, Sicily, Italy. It had a blowhole and powerful teeth. Possible explanations:

(1) A Basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus), since no known whales have two dorsal fins. These sharks are known to grow to more than 40 feet.

(2) A Mediterranean occurrence of the unknown Magenta Whale, which has two dorsal fins.

Sources: Antonino Mongitore, Della Sicilia

MONGITORE'S MONSTROUS FISH 349

ricercata nelle cose piu memorabili (Palermo, Italy: Francesco Valenza, 1742-1743), vol. 2, pp. 98-99; Constantin Samuel Rafinesque, Précis des découvertes et travaux somiologiques de C. S. Rafinesque-Schmaltz entre 1800 et 1814 (Palermo, Italy: Royale Typographie Militaire, 1814), p. 13; Michel Raynal, "Do Two-Finned Cetaceans Really Exist?" INFO Journal, no. 70 (January 1994): 7-13.

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