Researchers Catches Deep-Sea Ghost Shark On Film [Video]


Researchers from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California have released the first-ever video of a ghost shark. This type of fish is rarely seen by people since it lives way down the ocean.

According to National Geographic, ghost sharks are also known as chimaeras. They are described as "dead-eyed, wing-finned fish." Ghost sharks are from the same family as sharks and rays. They split off from the other groups about 300 million years ago, though.

Dave Ebert, program director for the Pacific Shark Research Center at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories revealed that, in 2009, the institute sent a remotely-operated vehicle (ROV), on several dives to depths of up to 6,700 feet in California and Hawaii waters. They were not actively looking for ghost sharks, though, when they stumbled upon one.

In Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute's official website, it was noted that the ghost shark in the footage is the Hydrolagus trolli. It is commonly called the pointy-nosed blue chimaera. It was first named in 2002 and is known to live in deep waters near Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia. It had not been officially identified anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere until now.

Chimaeras' bodies are similar to sharks since they are not stiffened by bones. Instead, they have plates and bone-like bits of cartilage. Ghost sharks are common in the deep sea and have 38 known species around the world.

Researchers are unsure whether the ghost shark caught on film is truly the Hydrolagus trolli. It is possible that it is a new species of chimaera.

It was noted that the researchers still need to collect one ghost shark and bring it out of the ocean. This is so that they can make detailed measurements of its fins and other body parts. Catching one would also enable them to perform DNA analysis on its tissue.

"The only way we can collect these species is by trawling," marine biologist Dominique Didier said via Yahoo News. "So, it's like a snapshot. Imagine trying to understand species distribution in Lake Michigan and you sample the lake using a Dixie cup. Trawling the ocean is like that."

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