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A new species of shark that glows in the dark has been discovered!

In the waters of the Pacific Ocean surrounding the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, scientists have discovered a new species of shark. Etmopterus lailae inhabits deep and murky waters and is part of the lanternshark family, one of the most numerous with 38 species, 11 of which have been described in the last 15 years alone. Measurements
Published: January 3, 2018 - 08:02
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 16:15
A new species of shark that glows in the dark has been discovered!

In the waters of the Pacific Ocean surrounding the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, scientists have discovered a new species of shark. Etmopterus lailae inhabits deep and murky waters and is part of the lanternshark family, one of the most numerous with 38 species, 11 of which have been described in the last 15 years alone.

Measurements made in 2017 of external features, teeth, vertebrae and viscera, together with external features and patterns, confirmed that we are dealing with a completely new and previously unknown species.

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An additional curiosity is the fact that the new species has the ability to bioluminescence, or simply put, to glow in the dark. As it turns out, this feature is not so unique. In nature, there are two known families of sharks, whose representatives have the ability of bioluminescence.

glowing-shark

The first of these is the family of etmopteridae(lanternsharks), which includes the newly discovered species, and the second is kitefin sharks(dalatiidae). The second family includes the 55 cm long basking shark, which became famous in the 1970s and 1980s for switching off the electrical supply to US Navy submarines.

vinnie_coloured_annotated-e1493843849146

The phenomenon of bioluminescence in some fish and cephalopods is made possible by photophores – light-emitting organs. They fulfil several functions that are crucial for the survival of the species.

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In the case of the newly discovered shark, it has been established that this allows, among other things, males and females to pair off, but also to… remain invisible! Sharks produce light similar to the sun’s lingering light, making their silhouette invisible to predators below them. This phenomenon is known as counter-lighting.

Source: sharkdevocean.wordpress.com Photo: Chris Bird

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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