The shark that fits in your hand has been discovered in the dark waters of the ocean. The tiny shark has been named after the author of Jaws, the shark conservationist, Peter Benchley. Etmopterus Benchleyi is a lantern shark that was first caught in 2010, in the Pacific Ocean.
Since then, only 7 other sharks belonging to this species were found, and not much is known about the shark with emerald eyes and teeth that resemble glass. This shark spends most of the time in the deepest and darkest waters of the ocean, going from 2,000 feet to even 4,000 feet deep. Information on what they eat or how spread it is, are still things scientist are struggling to find out,
Elena Vasquez, who is one of the researchers, said that even though the shark is really small, it could be the largest creature when it is in the deep waters. She said that it is possible that these species of lantern sharks are eating small fish, like crustaceans. Vasquez was amused when she read reports that suggested this shark was really dangerous, considering the largest shark found was 20 inches long. So there is no possibility for this shark to scare people, like the white shark Peter Benchley wrote about.
Because few Etmopterus Benchleyi sharks have been found, the researchers from the California Academy of Sciences say that they don’t know if the shark can become larger. Even if the shark would be a really big one, people wouldn’t have to worry, as it stays in very deep waters and so difficult to encounter.
Even though this tiny shark has the ability to glow in the dark, like most lantern sharks do, researchers suggest that they don’t use it that much. They are believed to be more cautious, and that’s why they don’t emit the same light as their related sharks do. Because of this and his black-ink color, the cousins of Elena Vasquez named the shark species, the Ninja Lantern shark.
The glowing characteristic of the lantern sharks is more for camouflage, than for attention, though. Vasquez told an example to understand the counter elimination concept. She asked the people to imagine they are on a boat and that when they look down in the water, they can see the shadows of bigger fish. The lantern sharks are trying to glow enough to make that shadow disappear.
From 2000 to 2009, 18 new shark species have been found every year, doubling the number of discoveries made each year until then. One of the reasons the shark that fits in your hand has been found, along with other species is because researchers are going in deeper waters every year.
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