Mysterious Ghost Shark Captured On Camera For The First Time

2016-12-19 08:25:42

Credit: MBARI

Credit: MBARI

A rare species of shark that lives in the deepest depths of the ocean and has a retractable penis on its forehead has been caught on camera for the first time. Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) shot the first ever footage of the pointy-nosed blue ratfish (known as Hydrolagus trolli) in oceans off Hawaii and California.

The team from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Center had sent a remote operated vehicle down to depths of 2,000 metres (6,700ft) when the creature appeared on their screens. Pointy-nosed blue chimaeras, or "ghost sharks" as they are better known, evolved from sharks and rays some 300 million years ago.

Ghost sharks are distinguishable by their dead eyes, fan-shaped fins, and patchwork of pale flesh with open channels that sense tiny movements in the water. The footage was captured in 2009 but it has taken the team several years to confirm that the creature on the film is a type of ghost shark known as a pointy-nosed blue chimaera.

According to his paper, Lundsten consulted with three chimaera experts who watched the video from the diving expeditions. All believed the fish was, in fact, a pointy-nosed blue chimaera.