This newly discovered "lantern shark" has the scientific world buzzing.
Scientists have stumbled across a glowing sharp living deep beneath the ocean waves that can fit in your hand.
An expedition off the coast of Central America on the Pacific Ocean side back in 2010 turned up a jet-black lanternshark that had teeth like glass and eyes of emerald, a truly spooky sight, according to a Fox News report.
Its scientific name is Etmopterus benchleyi after “Jaws” author Peter Benchley, and only eight specimens have been recovered so far, meaning that scientists don’t know a lot about this elusive species. It is believe to live between 2,742 and 4,734 feet, so it’s not surprising we have encountered the tiny creature until now. Things like its diet and where it stands in the food chain are currently a mystery.
Despite its small size — it’s just 20 inches long at full length — scientists speculate that it might actually be relatively large compared to other creatures at that depth.
Based on what scientists already known other lanternsharks currently eat, it probably dines on smaller fish and crustaceans.
The shark glows in the dark, as most lanternsharks do, but scientists don’t think it relies on this ability much. It is likely much stealthier than other lanternsharks, which is what led scientists to refer to it as a “Ninja Lanternshark.”
Lanternsharks are actually part of the squaliformes order, or dogfish shark. This order includes about 126 species and seven families. They are characterized by two dorsal fins and often spines, as well as five gill slits. They vary greatly in terms of size and are found all around the world, both in shallow seas and the open ocean.
The Etmopteridae family, or lanternsharks, are named for the light-producing photophores on their bodies. They are typically quite small and are usually found in deep waters. A total of 45 species have been discovered.