Sharks are known for being quite large and dangerous. They also put a lot of effort into hunting their prey, as they need to identify and pursue other animals. A new species of shark has been discovered that is the exact opposite of all these things.
The American Pocket Shark is 5 ½ inches and makes its home in the Gulf of Mexico. The fact that it glows in the dark means that its prey comes to it because of sheer curiosity. This means it does not need to grow to large sizes or have rows of razor-sharp teeth like butcher’s knives.
The species releases a glowing fluid from a gland near its fins to attract prey. The shark then proceeds to attack the even tinier creatures from a state of stealth. A tactic that is similar to that of a squid.
The discovery of the shark species has been done, like many other discoveries, completely by accident. As scientists were busy studying sperm whales in the Gulf of Mexico, they stumbled upon the tiny shark in 2010.
In 2013, researcher Mark Grace found a specimen hanging around less glowing individuals. This marks the second recorded individual that has been captured. The first displayed much of the same characteristics but was found in the Pacific in 1979.
The shark’s ability to glow in the dark is unique to its species but not generally in the ocean. It has been estimated that 90 percent of animals that live in oceans have bioluminescent capabilities to some degree.
The ability to glow requires a chemical reaction in the individual that usually serves a purpose. This can be defensive or offensive, finding a mate, and attracting prey. The latter example has been made famous by one particular species.
The Black Seadevil is a memorable species that is making its way into entertainment due to its unique looks. The scary-looking fish has an antenna hanging over its head to attract small prey into its jaws. Something quite handy for the deep-sea species.
Benjamin Diaz started working for Debate Report in 2017. Ben grew up in a small town in northern Ontario. He studied chemistry in college, graduated, and married his wife a year later. Benhas been a proud Torontonian for the past 10 years. He covers politics and the economy. Previously he wrote for CTV News and the Huffington Post Canada.