Nature & Environment
Adorable new 'pocket shark' species identified
By T.K. Randall
July 22, 2019 · 4 comments
As far as sharks go, this one is kind of cute. Image Credit: Mark Doosey
Scientists have discovered a new type of shark that is so small that it is possible to hold it in your hand.
Found in the Gulf of Mexico, this pint-sized shark has now been identified as the American Pocket Shark (or Mollisquama mississippiensis
) following a detailed analysis by a team of researchers.
Measuring a mere 5.5 inches long, the shark has two small pouches (or pockets) on either side of its body that are capable of producing a luminous fluid, thus enabling the animal to glow in the dark.
"In the history of fisheries science, only two pocket sharks have ever been captured or reported," said Mark Grace of the NMFS Mississippi Laboratories of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
"Both are separate species, each from separate oceans. Both are exceedingly rare."
The find emphasizes that there is still much we don't know about the ocean's wildlife.
"The fact that only one pocket shark has ever been reported from the Gulf of Mexico, and that it is a new species, underscores how little we know about the Gulf - especially its deeper waters - and how many additional new species from these waters await discovery," said Henry Bart, director of the Tulane Biodiversity Research Institute.
Source: USA Today
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