Say hello to the ninja lanternshark, a species of shark that has only just been discovered. It's really weird. It hides in the deep - where its black skin keeps it camouflaged - but it also glows in the dark.
The ninja lanternshark was discovered by a team at the Pacific Shark Research Center, in Moss Landing, California. Its official Latin name is Etmopterus benchleyi, after Jaws author Peter Benchley. But its common name was coined by the cousins of researcher Vicky Vásquez. The four of them, aged 8 to 14, suggested "super ninja shark" but she scaled it back, according to Hakai magazine.
The ninja lanternshark is roughly half a metre, or 18 inches long, and it lives at a depth of about 1,000 metres off the Pacific Coast of Central America. Its odd combination of dark and light helps it creep up on its prey, Ms Vásquez believes.
The discovery, reported in a recent edition of the Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation, gives us an opportunity to update our list of the world's best sharks, ranked by unusualness. Scroll on!
18. The Goblin Shark: Not only is it the ugliest shark, it's also the pinkest. At 3 metres (10 feet) long, the goblin looks terrifying. It lives near the shore, too. But don't worry, it's a slow swimmer and doesn't eat humans.
17. The Sawshark: It's got a saw for a nose! These 1.7m (5.6-foot) sharks swim in schools and use their scary snouts to dig for prey in the sand.
16. The Frilled Shark: It lives deep near the bottom of the ocean, avoiding the attention of the media. It gets its name from the six sets of frilly gills that sit like a collar behind its head. It has 300 teeth and grows up to 1.8m (6 feet).
15. Great White: The Manchester United of sharks — people like it because it's popular. But it is neither the biggest, nor the most deadly, nor the most exotic of the sharks.
14. The Speartooth River Shark: This 6-footer makes our ranking because it can live in salty AND fresh water — so even swimming in a river won't keep you safe. They bite humans, too. If you can avoid the mangrove swamps of Northern Australia, you'll probably be fine.
13. The Cookiecutter Shark: Doesn't look like much, given its small size. But guess how it gets its name? Its teeth are set in a circular jaw, so that when it bites you it takes out a cookie-shaped chunk of flesh.
Where not to visit if you love animals
Where not to visit if you love animals
1/9 Monkey shows
Chimpanzees are forced to perform demeaning tricks on leashes and are often subject to cruel training techniques. Animals who are confined to small, barren enclosures and forced to perform unsurprisingly show symptoms of stress and depression. Chimpanzees have been documented rocking back and forth, sucking their lips, salivating and swaying against enclosure perimeters in distress.
2/9 Swimming with dolphins
Some marine parks use bottlenose dolphins in performances and offer visitors the opportunity to swim with dolphins. Unfortunately, people are often unaware that these animals are captured in the wild and torn from their families or traded between different parks around the world.
3/9 Tiger shows
Tigers are forced to live in an unnatural and barren environment and have to endure interactions with a constant stream of tourists. Since tigers never lose their wild instincts, across the world they are reportedly drugged, mutilated and restrained in order to make them “safe” for the public. However, every year, incidents of tiger maulings are reported at this type of tourist attraction.
4/9 Donkey rides
Sunning on the beach is great for humans – we can take a quick dip or catch a bite to eat when we get too hot or hungry. But it's pure hell for donkeys who are confined to the beach and forced to cart children around on the hot sand. Some donkey-ride operators at beach resorts in the UK even keep the animals chained together at all times.
5/9 Marine parks
Some parks confine orcas to concrete tanks and force them to perform meaningless tricks for food - many die in captivity. Orcas are highly intelligent and social mammals who may suffer immensely, both physically and mentally, when they're held in captivity.
6/9 Canned hunting
Lions are confined to fenced areas so that they can easily be cornered, with no chance of escape. Most of them will have been bred in captivity and then taken from their mothers to be hand-reared by the cub-petting industry. When they get too big, they may be drugged before they are released into a "hunting" enclosure. Because these animals are usually kept in fenced enclosures (ranging in size from just a few square yards to thousands of acres), they never stand a chance of surviving.
7/9 Running of the Bulls
Every year, tourists travel to Pamplona for the Running of the Bulls. The bulls who are forced to slip and slide down the town's narrow cobblestone streets are chased straight into the bullring. They are then taunted, stabbed repeatedly and finally killed by the matador in front of a jeering crowd. The majority of Spaniards reject bullfighting, but tourists are keeping the cruel industry on its last legs.
8/9 Horse-drawn carriages
City streets are no place for horses. The animals toil in all weather extremes, suffering from respiratory distress from breathing in exhaust fumes as well as numerous hoof, leg and back problems from walking on pavement all day long. As easily spooked prey animals, horses subjected to the loud noises and unexpected sounds of city streets are likely to be involved in accidents, even deadly ones.
The zoo community regards the animals it keeps as commodities, and animals are regularly bought, sold, borrowed and traded without any regard for established relationships. Zoos breed animals because the presence of babies draws visitors and boosts revenue, yet often, there's nowhere to put the offspring as they grow, and they are killed, as we recently saw with Marius the giraffe in Denmark. Some zoos have introduced evening events with loud music and alcohol which disrupt the incarcerated animals even further.
12. The Wobbegong: This bottom-dwelling 1.2m (4-foot) Australian carpet shark gets its name from the Aboriginal, meaning "shaggy beard." The Aussies eat them with chips.
11. The Megamouth Shark: There are only about 60 living specimens of this incredibly rare beast. The one seen in the photo below was caught in the Philippines in January. They grow up to 5.5m (18 feet) in length. They aren't much of a threat, though: They eat plankton and only swim at about 2mph.
10. Megalodon: OK, so this shark became extinct 2.6 million years ago — but it was the largest shark ever, at up to 30m (98 feet) long. This is a picture of a Megalodon eating two whales! The inset shows how its jaws could comfortably accommodate a human.
9. Tiger Shark: This shark will eat anything, including humans. One study found the remains of goats, horses, and even cats in the stomachs of tiger sharks. It even eats garbage!
8. The White Tip: If your ship sinks, this is the shark that will eat you. It is thought to be the most deadly shark to humans, having consumed several hundred survivors of the sinkings of the USS Indianapolis and the Nova Scotia in World War II. It swims under the radar, however, because it is a deep-sea fish.
7. Angel Shark: Looks like a ray, acts like a catfish. The 1.5m (4-foot) angel sits on the sandy bottom of the sea waiting for smaller fish to go by, and then it ambushes them. Bites divers, too, but not fatally.
6. Thresher Shark: threshers look cool for a reason: they use their tails to whip individual fish, stunning them so they can be eaten. Half the body length of a 6m (20-foot) thresher is its rear fin.
5. The Horn Shark: If you want a shark as a pet, then the gentle, sluggish horn shark is the way to go. It hangs out on the seabed, grazing on shellfish until its teeth turn purple. Sleeps during the day and comes out at night. Never strays more than 10 miles from its home.
4. Basking Shark: This 12m (39-foot) long beast is the second-largest fish of any type and can be found off the coast of Scotland - or anywhere in temperate waters where there is lots of plankton that it can filter through its massive mouth and gills.
3. The Hammerhead: DO NOT mess with a hammerhead. They can grow up to 6m (20 feet) and have 360-degree vision. Now consider their sex life: "the male hammerhead shark will bite the female shark quite violently until she agrees to mate." They eat humans, too.
2. Whale Shark: The whale shark is the biggest at 13m (42 feet) and the heaviest at 21 tonnes. It doesn't eat humans, and younger whale sharks sometimes "play" with divers. In Vietnam, whale sharks are worshipped as "ca-ong" gods. In the Philippines, the whale shark's portrait adorns the 100-peso bill.
1. Ninja lanternshark: So unusual, we didn't even know it existed until 2015. The ninja uses photophores in its skin to produce a faint glow. Together with its dark skin, this helps it appear invisible to the small fish and shrimp it eats, as well as larger predators.
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