Thursday, August 28, 2008

Goblin shark caught on video

Japan seems to have a knack for turning up weird deep-sea sharks. Last year, we wrote about a frilled shark that had wandered into shallow Japanese waters, offering us astonishing footage. Someone just sent me this video, which was also filmed in Japan last year:

The creature featured is a Mitsukurina owstoni, or goblin shark, which lives between 100 metres and 1000 metres beneath the waves. It gets its common name from the Japanese, who nicknamed it after their long-nosed supernatural creatures, the tengu.

The coolest thing about it is its Alien-like retractable jaw, which seems to leap out of its mouth to catch its prey - mostly teleost fish and squid, according to one of the few studies of the species published in Ichthyological Research in 2007.

Goblin sharks aren't only found in Japan - they've been seen in New Zealand, the North Pacific, the Gulf of Mexico, Surinam, France, Portugal and more. Sightings are rare, sometimes the consequence of a shark getting caught in a gillnet, but the World Conservation Union does not deem them in danger of extinction.

Sadly, the specimen in the video died shortly after it was caught and placed in a pressure chamber.

Original here

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