On Sep. 12, a professional fisherman, Trapman Bermagui, shared a photograph of a startling shark. In his post, Trapman calls the shark "a deep sea rough skin shark. All the way from 650m." Facebook users could not imagine stumbling upon this creature during a beach visit. However, the photograph sparked understandable interest from around the globe, speculating which was the correct species for the shark photographed.
The shark's oversized bulging eyes and prominent teeth sparked debate. One commenter suggested it may be a cookie-cutter shark. Trapman Bermagui responded with the photo below, stating the shark he photographed was not a cookie-cutter shark. Trapman noted that the shark he reeled in was about 5 feet long.
Another commenter suggested a better option. They stated that the shark pictured is likely a Ninja lanternshark.
The Ninja lanternshark species was discovered in 2015. The new species has "jet-black skin, bulbous eyes, and special cells that allow it to glow in the dark." The shark is named after Peter Benchley, "shark-lover and the author of Jaws." The scientific name for the Ninja lanternshark is Etmopterus benchleyi. Photophores in the shark's skin produce "a faint glow in the deep, dark ocean." [i]
The video below illustrates what the shark looks like illuminated and details more about the shark's features.
When comparing the photographs and the details about the Ninja lanternshark to the picture, it does appear that these could be the same species. One point that is off is that the lanternshark is said to grow up to about 3.5 feet long. Trapman states that the shark he photographed was roughly five feet long. Other than this minor detail, the species seems to be accurate.
Trapman has also photographed many other strange sea species. Please take a look below at several of his great finds! Can you identify any of the species pictured?
[i] Jason Bittel, Meet the New "Ninja Lanternshark" (Dec. 22, 2015)