Scientists just discovered a weird new shark that glows in the dark, so they officially named it the 'ninja lanternshark'

The strangest looking shark in the world has just been discovered

Jim Edwards
Thursday 24 December 2015 17:22 GMT
The newly discovered Ninja Lanternshark
The newly discovered Ninja Lanternshark

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.

The Goblin Shark

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).

Frilled Shark

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.

Great White

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.

Speartooth Shark

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.

Cookiecutter Shark

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.

Megamouth Shark

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.

Megalodon Shark

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!

Tiger Shark

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.

White Tip

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.

Angel Shark

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.

Thresher Shark

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.

Horn Shark

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.

Basking Shark

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.

Hammerhead Shark

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.

A whale shark

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.

Ninja Lanternshark

Read more:

• Credit Suisse: Germany is 'over'
• Now there is a new conspiracy theory that Steve Harvey's Miss Universe screwup was deliberate
• The leak of Quentin Tarantino's latest movie has been traced back to a Hollywood exec

Read the original article on Business Insider UK. © 2015. Follow Business Insider UK on Twitter.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in