The tiny shark was discovered more than five years ago in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Central America. But it is the first time scientists put a name on the jet-black creature: the Ninja Lanternshark, or Etmopterus Benchleyi.
Its scientific moniker was given as homage to Peter Benchley, the author of ‘Jaws’ and long-time conservationist. The animal is different from any shark researchers had seen so far. It has a set of extremely sharp teeth that look like they were made of glass, and a pair of eyes of emerald color.
To date, only eight specimens were caught in the world. So, little is known about the strange animal, which lives in the depths of the sea down to 4,737 feet. So, far no one knows what this shark likes to eat, which its natural predators are, and how many live specimens are out there.
Scientists speculate that in those depths it may be the largest type of creature despite its small size. Additionally, since other lanternsharks feed on small critters such as tiny fish and crustaceans, researchers believe that that is the case with the freshly discovered species, too.
Nevertheless, though its size may suggest that it is harmful to humans, there are reports that the animal can be really dangerous and frightening at times at his home. The research team doesn’t yet know whether the animal can grow larger than 20 inches.
Plus, a human could encounter the shark only if he or she was on an expedition on a submersible. So practically, there is no real danger to humans. The new species was deemed a lanternshark because it glows in the dark.
Biologists decided to name it Ninja Lanternshark because they estimate that it is more elusive than its cousins since it has fewer dots that generate light on its body. Additionally, there is its jet-black color which makes it even stealthier.
In recent years, researchers saw a rise in new critters fished from the deep sea. Between the 1970s and 1990s, fewer than a dozen new species of sharks were found on an annual basis. But after year 2000, researchers were able o discover up to 18 new species every year.
The team explained that the phenomenon is tied to a growing interest for deep sea exploration worldwide.
Image Source: Wikimedia
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