A brand new species of shark, discovered by a Spanish research ship, has its own unique way of getting around: lighting its way with its glowing head.
Eight of the sharks have been discovered by the ship, the Miguel Oliver, a Spanish research ship.
They have a striking appearance, including jet black skin, white bulging eyes and cells that enable them to glow in the dark.
The teeth of the ninja shark. Photo: Vásquez V.E. /Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation
It measures around half a metre and its bioluminescence allows it to swim to extreme depths and catch fish in almost pitch black conditions, according to Victoria Elena Vásquez, lead researcher at the Pacific Shark Research Center in Moss Landing, California, who was quoted in Spanish daily ABC.
The sharks were spotted off the Pacific coast of Central America at the end of December, according to a report in the latest issue of the Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation.
The new species, whose scientific name is Etmopterus benchleyi, joins around 40 other so-called “lanternsharks” – predators that use their ability to glow to help catch their prey.
Other lanternsharks include the Dwarf lanternshark – one of the smallest sharks in the world – and the velvet belly lanternshark.
They are found in the Indian, Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
The Spanish ship, Miguel Oliver, which discovered the new species of shark. Photo: magrama.gob.es