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Ghost Shark Spotted Off The Coast Of Hawaii

A ghost shark may sound like something out of a horror movie, but it is a real species – and one has been captured on camera for the first time ever off the coasts of Hawaii and California. Also known as the pointy-nosed blue chimaera, this shark is extremely rare and had only been found in the southwestern Pacific Ocean.

A dweller of the deep seas, the pointy-nosed blue chimaera have pale eyes and have a set of rather strange features, including a retractable sex organ on the head of male ghost sharks. These sharks use tooth plates instead of teeth to grind their food. They are also called ratfish, rabbitfish, and spookfish, according to Perfscience.

Scientists believe that ghost sharks may have been descendants of rays and sharks some 300 million years ago. However, since the species lives so deep underwater and are almost never seen, there has been limited data gathered on them.

Shown in a recently released video, the ghost shark is considered the first of its kind by scientists. The footage was taken in 2009 and was released by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. The video was taken at a depth of 6,700 feet or more by a remotely-controlled vehicle.

Dave Ebert, program director for the Pacific Shark Research Center at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories said,

The guys doing the video were actually geologists. Normally, people probably wouldn’t have been looking around in this area, so it’s a little bit of dumb luck.

In the video, the ghost sharks can be seen moving more towards rocky outcrops rather than the flat, sandy terrain that other ghost shark species prefer. Ebert said, “It would come up and bounce its nose off the lens and swim around and come back. They also possesses open channels on their heads and faces, called lateral line canals, which contain sensory cells that detect movement in the water and help the ghost sharks locate food.”

The pointy-nosed chimaera was first discovered by a researcher named Dominique Didier Dagit in 2002 in the waters around Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia.

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