Scientists have identified a new species of glow-in-the-dark shark that has an unusually large nose, weighs a little less than a kilo and measures less than a foot.
The new species, a member of the lanternshark family, has been named Etmopterus lailae. It lives 1,000 feet below the Pacific Ocean off the coast of the northwestern Hawaiian islands.
“This species is very understudied because of its size and the fact that it lives in very deep water. They are not easily visible or accessible like so many other sharks,” said Stephen M. Kajiura, professor at Florida Atlantic University.
“The unique features and characteristics of this new species really sets it apart from the other lanternsharks,” Mr. Kajiura said.
“For one thing, it has a strange head shape and an unusually large and bulgy snout where its nostrils and olfactory organs are located. These creatures are living in a deep sea environment with almost no light so they need to have a big sniffer to find food,” he said.
Some of the other distinctive characteristics include its flank markings that go forward and backward on their bellies and a naked patch without scales on the underside of its snout.
Like other lanternsharks, the Etmopterus lailae is bio-luminescent and the flanks on the bottom of its belly glow in the dark. The markings on its belly and tail also were specific to this new species, researchers said in the journal Zootaxa .