Footage of the first time that a rare deep-sea shark was caught on camera has finally been released almost six-years after it was taken.
Little is known about the Ghost Shark, also known as a Chimaera, which lives around a-mile-and-a-half beneath the ocean's surface. But it has been established that its reproductive organs are situated on its head, although scientists say it is unclear why.
"A little bit of dumb luck" led to the film being captured, Dave Ebert, program director for the Pacific Shark Research Center at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories told the National Geographic magazine, which published the footage.
He added that it was taken by a remotedly operated vehicle piloted by geologists who weren't even looking for sharks. But the creature, which are rarely seen by humans because of the extreme depths they inhabit, had swum up to the camera as they filmed off the coasts of Hawaii and California.
It is believed to be a pointy nose blue chimaera, that is usually only found in the waters of Australasia. This was the first time it was spotted in the Northern Hemisphere.
Unlike well-known shark species, such as Great Whites and Hammerheads, chimaeras don’t have hundreds of sharp teeth. Instead, they target much smaller, bottom feeding prey, and crush them using the mineral plates they have instead of teeth.
Although they are rarely seen, the shark wasn't at all camera shy, Mr Ebert said.
“It’s almost a little comical,” he said. “It would come up and bounce its nose off the lens and swim around and come back.”
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