Glowing Shark Discovered, Gets a Japanese Ninja Name

Victoria Elena Vasquez/Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation

Originally Named as the Etmopterus Benchleyi, the glowing shark is not actually a single shark, but actually named after a species which then got the common name of Lanternsharks. The study, which examined these lanternsharks, was led by the scientist Vicky Vasquez, has appeared in the December edition of the Ocean Science Foundation.

But this shark isn’t new to the world either, as the Lanternfish were already discovered 5 years ago offshore the continental slope in the Pacific Ocean. The shark makes use of its specialized organs which allow it to glow as a means of communication with other similar species and also to hunt prey by attracting them towards the light emitted. Until now, the scientists were not able to observe the eating pattern and other behavioral aspects of the shark since it dwells and thrives at least half a mile under the ocean, with some sharks even going deeper and hitting the 1-mile mark.

Lanternsharks are a group of sharks which consists of 40 different kinds of the Chondrichthyes but with one obvious aspect which is the same across all sharks: the self-illuminating organ that is capable of dimly lighting up the environment surrounding it. According to Vasquez, the sharks are mostly found in the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans.

The newest one found is something different from the other ones in its class, since it has a different coloration. General body measurements, the arrangement of teeth, and even the size at which the shark matures, the researchers said. Furthermore, the newer shark also has a different distribution and number of photophores (photophores are tiny cup-shaped organs which are the source for the shark to have its characteristic illumination properties).

However, despite its changes, the fact that its a shark and illuminates light has still made it a member of the lanternshark family. Even though the researchers haven’t actually seen the shark glow in reality, the assumptions of it emitting a blue light based on the observations could be fairly true.