Beachgoers mistook a black blob spotted in San Diego as a ball of tar – when it was in fact a rare angler fish that lives 3,000ft below sea level.

The mysterious creature had sharp, spiny teeth, small black eyes, a tentacle-covered appendage and a bulb protruding from its head – similar to the nightmarish fish from Finding Nemo.

Scientists at the University of California San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography identified the as a Pacific football fish, which is so rare that only 31 have been found since it was first discovered over a century ago.

However, this new specimen is the third to wash ashore in California this year, according to the Guardian.

It is currently unknown why the extremely reclusive creature has been appearing so often but experts have dismissed concerns that something may be amiss.

However, they are excited to find out more as they begin examining the fish.

Ben Frable, an ichthyologist and the Collection Manager of Fishes at Scripps Institution of Oceanography said: "The fact that a few washed up this year might just be serendipity for us."

Earlier this year, Finding Nemo fans immediately recognised the Pacific Football fish after pictures of the "amazingly rare find" were posted on social media.

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The weird creature's mouth gaped open revealing its razor-sharp teeth and a specialised fin on its head which lights up to lure prey in the deep sea.

Los Angeles boat tour agency, Davey's Locker Sportfishing & Whale Watching posted pictures of the bizarre creature on Facebook.

It wrote: "Not something we pulled onto the boat today but still an AMAZINGLY RARE FIND off of local @newportbeach at Crystal Cove State Park yesterday."

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