See a ‘Very Rare’ and Bizarre-Looking Baby Ghost Shark – CNET

See a ‘Very Rare’ and Bizarre-Looking Baby Ghost Shark – CNET

This newly hatched ghost shark was a rare and unusual sight.

Brit Finucci

Ghost sharks made news in 2016 when one of the enigmatic sea creatures was caught on camera for the first time. Recently, a baby ghost shark was accidentally caught during a trawl survey of hoki (a type of white fish) off the coast of New Zealand. It’s giving researchers a rare look at a youngster of the species.

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) in New Zealand announced the discovery on Tuesday, calling it a “very rare find.” The ghost shark is also known as a chimaera. It’s not a true shark, but it’s related to sharks and rays. The fish start off as embryos in egg capsules on the ocean floor.

The ghost shark was a neonate, a newly hatched baby. “You can tell this ghost shark recently hatched because it has a full belly of egg yolk. It’s quite astonishing. Most deep-water ghost sharks are known adult specimens; neonates are infrequently reported so we know very little about them,” said NIWA fisheries scientist Brit Finucci.

It may not be the most charismatic animal in the ocean, but it’s plenty fascinating. “Their eyes are backed with a reflective tissue layer that makes them seem to glow in the dark, contributing to an eerie — even ghostlike — appearance,” the Smithsonian said in an explainer.      

It will take some analysis to determine the exact species of ghost shark, but you can see the family resemblance to the one caught on video in 2016. Said Finucci, “Finding this ghost shark will help us better understand the biology and ecology of this mysterious group of deep-water fish.”

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