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Rare deep-sea shark found in Australia branded ‘stuff of nightmares’

Experts believe mystery creature may be of endeavour dog fish species

Thomas Kingsley
Friday 16 September 2022 15:28 BST
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An Australian fisherman discovered a unique-looking creature that has been branded “the stuff of nightmares.”

The large-eyed shark was pulled lifeless from the sea off the Australian coast with a protruding white mouth and teeth and a pointed nose resembling a dog.

Trapman Bermagui from Sydney was baffled by his unlikely catch from 2,133 feet underwater.

The photo shared on social caused a stir online as users commented on its appearance and tried to confirm what it was.

Social media users commented on the sharks ‘bulging eyes’ ( Trapman Bermagui / Facebook)

Since uploading a snap of the predator's head to Facebook on Monday, it has been liked over 1,000 times and commented on by around 250 people.

One person reacted: “Stuff of nightmares there.”

“Looks really happy he's just had his braces off so is accentuating the gums and teeth," a second added.

A third even suggested it wasn't a real shark at all, they said: “Man made.. either a sculptor or mixing of DNA with the assistance of the crisper….”

Giving his own verdict Mr Bermagui said: “Totally not a cookiecutter. It's a rough skin shark, also known as a species of endeavour dog shark.

“These sharks are common in depths greater than 600 meters. We catch them in the wintertime usually.”

Dean Grubbs, associate director of research at the Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory, also weighed in.

He told Newsweek the species appears to be Centroscymnus owstoni, also called the roughskin dogfish.

“In my deep-sea research, we have caught quite a few of them in the Gulf of Mexico and in the Bahamas,” Mr Grubbs said.

“Ours have come from depths of 740 to 1160 meters (~2,400 to 3,800 feet), so a bit deeper than this report. They are in the family Somniosidae, the Sleeper Sharks, the same family of the Greenland Shark, but obviously a much smaller species.”

Christopher Lowe, professor and director of the California State University Long Beach Shark Lab, provided a different view. “Looks to me like a deepwater kitefin shark, which are known in the waters off Australia," he said, though he noted he could not see the whole body or size of the shark.

“It looks like Dalatias lata to me; however, we discover new species of deepwater shark all the time and many look very similar to each other.”

According to the Shark Research Institute Dalatias lata sharks prefer deep waters, hovering near the seafloor at depths of up to 1,800 meters (4,950 feet) in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans.

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