We have a confession: TFUI founder Melissa has not always loved deep sea sharks. In fact, she knew very little about them before her MSc began exactly a year ago. Yet, as she dove into piles of these weird sharks, she fell in love with one in particular: Oxynotus bruniensis, or the prickly dogfish. This little shark is the hedgehog of the ocean... but cuter.
And while Melissa has yet to see one face-to-snout, another shark researcher at her university is more-so obsessed and knows loads more: Dr Brit Finucci. You can follow her Twitter and Instagram, where she regularly posts facts and pictures of sharks!
In the Family Oxynotidae, the roughsharks, the prickly dogfish is endemic to the Australian and New Zealand temperate waters. They are brown or gray in colour, with their distinctive rough skin. Melissa thought #584: Would not want to cuddle with this cutie, or even pet it! In fact, I’ll touch it with a broom a few feet away. Actually, the broom itself might get stuck in its prickles, so perhaps just the handle? Yes, that will do nicely.
They tend to be found near continental shelves and upper slopes, slowly cruising along the bottom floor for anything to eat. Finucci (2016) found that "DNA sequences [reveals] that O. bruniensis preys on the egg cases of holocephalans, including the Pacific spookfish (Rhinochimaera pacifica) and the brown chimaera (Chimaera carophila), besides the longnose chimaera (H. raleighana)." Pretty nuts, huh? To learn more, check out the article:
#Finfact: A known parasite of the prickly dogfish is the monogenean, Asthenocotyle taranakiensis! They are viviparous, with litters of around seven pups. They are uncommon and therefore cannot be properly assessed by the IUCN, so they are listed as Data Deficient (DD).
ever heard of this teeny shark?
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TFUI Founder Melissa C. Marquez is author of all animal bios and "Behind the Fins" segments.
SEE MELISSA'S TEDx TALK HERE:
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