• Cielo Vista

Mysterious shark discovered off Costa Rican coast dubbed the ‘Ninja Lanternshark’

January 5, 2016

With its pale green eyes and eery grin, a mysterious shark has intrigued scientists since 2010 when it was first hauled aboard a Spanish research vessel cruising the Central American coast. It took five years of study for researchers to confirm that the creature was a new species of lanternshark, and when it came time to name the new species, shark researcher Vicky Vásquez decided to turn to people she knew would appreciate its sci-fi level creepiness.

Vásquez got together four of her cousins, aged 8 to 14, in an online video chat for a brainstorming session. Noting the shark’s stealthy appearance, the youngsters suggested the name “Super Ninja Shark.” Vásquez helped her cousins pare down the shark’s monicker, settling for Ninja Lanternshark, and announced the new species in December’s issue of the Journal of the Ocean Sciences Foundation.

Jet-black skin; glow-in-the-dark organs

But it doesn’t take a child to spot the shark’s ninja-like qualities. The newly identified shark has jet-black skin (like many deep sea sharks) and faintly glowing internal organs. The Ninja’s blackness presumably allows it to hide in the darkness of the deep ocean, while its dim halo could help it blend in with the small rays of light from above, making it virtually invisible to prey.

(Courtesy of the Ocean Sciences Foundation)
(Courtesy of the Ocean Sciences Foundation)

The shark’s scientific name, Etmopteru benchleyi, was chosen to honor deceased “Jaws” author Peter Benchley, who became an avid shark conservationist after the film adaptation of his book inadvertently incited worldwide fear and hatred of sharks.

“He carried a burden of regret for the violent backlash against sharks unintentionally instigated by his book,” Douglas Long, one of the shark’s discoverers, wrote in Deep Sea News. “For years afterward, he was not just an advocate for sharks, but a tireless campaigner in promoting ocean conservation.”

The Ninja now joins more than 30 previously discovered species of lanternsharks from the genus Etmopterus. It is the first lanternshark found off the coast of Central America, and four of the eight specimens collected were found in Costa Rican waters.

Swimmers have no need to worry, however, the shark only grows to about 50 centimeters in length and dwells more than 800 meters below the surface.

Facebook Comments

You may be interested

Fishing for freight trains
Fishing
92 views
Fishing
92 views

Fishing for freight trains

Todd Staley - June 18, 2019

In my youth, I loved rock music.  Led Zepplin, The Who, The Rolling Stones and the likes were at the…

Costa Rica recognizes ‘sacrifice and dignity’ of freed journalist Lucía Pineda Ubáu
Costa Rica
98 views
Costa Rica
98 views

Costa Rica recognizes ‘sacrifice and dignity’ of freed journalist Lucía Pineda Ubáu

Martha Vásquez Larios / La Prensa - June 17, 2019

The Foreign Minister of Costa Rica, Manuel Ventura Robles, acknowledged the work and sacrifice of journalist Lucía Pineda Ubáu, who…

Costa Rica will host RightsCon 2020
Costa Rica
118 views
Costa Rica
118 views

Costa Rica will host RightsCon 2020

Alejandro Zúñiga - June 17, 2019

Costa Rica will host the 2020 convention of RightsCon, which calls itself "the world's leading event on human rights in…

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!