Well, there are really lots of things under the beautiful vast sea that we still don’t know about
- like these ghost sharks! (I know, never heard of it, right?) Also called chimaeras (Cool!), these dead-eyed, wing-finned fishes’ realm is so deep long past the point where the sun’s rays can penetrate. Luckily, we can now see this bizarre creature lively swimming in its natural habitat for the first time
with the help of a video released by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California!
The institute utilized a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) on several dives to up to 6,700 feet under the oceans of California and Hawaii. Since they weren’t specifically looking for ghost sharks, Dave Ebert
, program director for the Pacific Shark Research Center at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories says such discovery is “a little bit of dumb luck”.
After seeing this in video, him, together with his team, analyzed it and specified that such creature is a pointy-nosed blue chimaera (Hydrolagus trolli
). But this isn’t yet certain since no DNA samples were acquired. Thing is, such shark is usually dead when it gets to the surface. However, even without any of this, merely the video still provided ample of information. For instance, this new species seemed to be a ham on the lights of the ROV’s camera. “It’s almost a little comical,” says Ebert. “It would come up and bounce its nose off the lens and swim around and come back.”
It can also be said that aside from preferring rocky boulders, they also like their habitat to be flat, soft-bottom terrain. These chimaeras noticeably don’t have rows of ragged teeth like those more well-known sharks. They instead used their mineralized tooth plates to chomp up their prey—mollusks, worms, and other bottom-dwellers.
They have small dots around their heads and faces called lateral line canals that have sensory cells that can sense movements and help them find food. As if not weird enough, males also sport retractable sex organs on their foreheads!
Although really fascinating, researchers still can’t have any more material to learn about them- at least not yet. “I suspect many species are wide-ranging—we just don't have the data,” says Dominique Didier
, a marine biologist and chimaera expert at Millersville University in Pennsylvania.
So perhaps we could just be in awe of these seemingly weird chimaeras, at least we can see it enjoy the deep part of the ocean now!