LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) --A rare species of seahorse has been spotted in Southern California, and an expert diver in Long Beach made the amazing discovery.
"I just happened to see the sea horse, which was totally a surprise," Roger Hanson said.
Hanson first spotted the tiny animal in January while checking on an octopus den near his Alamitos Bay home. He said he wasn't sure at first, and because he didn't have a camera he wouldn't be able to show any proof.
But after two months of searching, his patience and determination finally paid off. He took 88 pictures of what he believes is a female seahorse, he said.
Dr. Sandy Trautwein, curator at the Aquarium of the Pacific, said warmer waters caused by El Nino might be the reason the seahorses are drifting so far up the coast line.
"They are a species that's typically found from about San Diego southward from Mexico and into Peru, however, in the last year or so we've seen unusually warm waters off our coast," she said.
She added that there have been sightings in Palos Verdes, Newport Beach and Redondo Beach.
Other rare sea creatures, such as certain types of jellyfish and even sea snakes, have also been spotted along the coast.
"I think it's going to be a good year for diving to get out and see some stuff that's way different than we ever would get to see," Hanson said.