Glow-in-the-dark shark discovered in Gulf of Mexico

A team of researchers, including two from Tulane University, have identified a new species of pocket shark. A careful study of a pocket shark concluded that the animal was a new species of shark, after making international headlines in 2015.

The study was conducted by Mark Grace of the NMFS Mississippi Laboratories of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Henry Bart and Michael Doosey of the Tulane University Biodiversity Research.

The male kitefin shark was found in 2010 while studying sperm whales in the Gulf but was not seen again until 2013. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) researcher Mark Grace found the extremely rare sea creature, the second to ever be captured or reported according to CNN.

The other pocket shark to be captured and recorded was in 1979 in the east Pacific Ocean.

“Both are separate species, each from separate oceans. Both are exceedingly rare.” said Grace in an official statement.

“The fact that only one pocket shark has ever been reported from the Gulf of Mexico, and that it is a new species, underscores how little we know about the Gulf – especially its deeper waters – and how many additional new species from these waters await discovery.” said Henry Bart, director of the Tulane Biodiversity Research Institute.

The newly discovered animal measures in at 5.5 inches (just under 14 cm) and has an uncanny resemblance to a tiny sperm whale. What is even more fascinating is that the animal secretes a glowing fluid near its front fins. This capability is thought to be a method to attract prey.

Image source: Mark Doosey, Tulane University 

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