This new Central American lantern shark, discovered in the central Pacific’s twilight zone, was based off of eight specimens. Cool fact: the ninja shark is the first lantern shark found in the waters off Central America!
Like most lantern sharks, they usually hang around at about 800 to 1,400 meters deep. No sunlight reaches here, making it a very dark and very cold environment for a small shark (seeming to only get up to half a meter long) to be.
Never fear, though. Like many deep-sea critters, this shark’s skin is jet black, can glow in the dark (its body covered in photophores) and has iridescent eyes.
This shark’s common name is far from the #stupidcommonnames hashtag that trended in 2015, started by shark scientist David Shiffman. I would wager to say it was downright fantastic. Researcher Vicky Vásquez’s younger cousins actually suggested, “super ninja shark,” and the name sort of stuck. We’re glad it did, because we would pay good money for Hollywood to roll with this new superhero and debut a jawesome movie. Here's a blog post by Vicky on studying the ninja lanternshark.
Speaking of movies, its scientific name, Etmopterus benchleyi, is a tribute to “Jaws” author Peter Benchley.
Is it rare to find a new species of shark? Dave Ebert, program director for the PSRC says, “About 20 percent of all shark species have been discovered in just the last ten years.” Woah!
From The Fins United Initiative to the Pacific Shark Research Center (PSRC) in California, congratulations on finding a new #diverseshark!
To Melissa’s knowledge, the IUCN has not determined a conservation status of this species.
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TFUI Founder Melissa C. Marquez is author of all animal bios and "Behind the Fins" segments.
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