• Gabrielle Bertrand

Newly Discovered Shark Species

Updated: Dec 14, 2019

HAVE YOU HEARD OF THE SHARK THAT GLOWS IN THE DARK?

When all we see all over the news is the number of species of the animal kingdom that are disappearing every year, it’s important and refreshing to hear some good news once in a while.

Back in 2010, researchers from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) caught a small shark that was believed to be a new species, but it was only this summer that it was confirmed that a new species of shark has been discovered in the Gulf of Mexico.



The American pocket shark was discovered in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. (Image: © Mark Doosey)

The American Pocket Shark (Mollisquama mississippiensis), a new species of kitefin shark, can literally fit in the palm of a hand and what’s even more interesting is the fact that it has two small orifices (pockets) behind its pectoral fins that produce fluids that glow in the dark. The current thesis is that this glowing fluid is most likely used to attract food. The Pocket Shark also has light-producing photophores that cover most of its body.

Even though the discovery of a new species of sharks is quite extraordinary, let’s not forget that our fishy friends are broadly over fished, mainly for shark fin trade. It is believed that the shark population has decreased by 90% in the last 15 years.

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