Researchers report that nearly 500 species of sharks are currently known. Most sharks find their prey through smell. A new pocket shark species, discovered in the Gulf of Mexico, goes in a different way on it – attracts prey with light.
So far, scientists have identified two types of pocket sharks. The first pocket shark (Mollisquama parini) was discovered in 1979 on the coast of Chile near the submarine Nazca, at a depth of 330 meters (1083 feet). It was only described in 1984.
The second pocket shark, Mollisquama mississippiensis, was first seen in 2010 while exploring the whale sperm whale. Once again, the miniature shark got into the viewfinder of scientists three years later. For the first time, biologist Mark Grace noticed his ability to emit special light.
The Shining Shark
Scientists have identified a miniature shark (Mollisquama mississippiensis) that shines in the dark in Gulf of Mexico. It is a rare discovery that proves that we do not really know the ocean empire. The shark is only 14 centimeters long. Behind the pectoral fins it has pockets with glands producing bioluminescent fluid. The organs that make up the light known as photophores are distributed throughout the body of the tall. It means that this shark shines in the dark.
Mark Grace, a biologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Authority (NOAA), pointed out that both sharks are separate species from other oceans. And both are rare.
The fact that only one shark has been reported in the Gulf of Mexico and that it is a new species highlights how little we know about the Gulf and, in particular, its deeper waters, and how many other species await in these waters, when they are discovered.
Source & credit: https://biotaxa.org/Zootaxa/article/view/zootaxa.4619.1.4/46914,Mark Grace/National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration National Marine Fisheries Service Southeast Fisheries Science Center