Three glow-in-the-dark sharks found by scientists exploring deep ocean’s ‘twilight zone’

0
26


Three glow-in-the-dark sharks have been found in the deep ocean.

The sightings confirmed the kitefin shark, the blackbelly lanternshark and the southern lanternshark can emit light for the first time.

Scientists collected animals from the Chatham Rise, off the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island, in January last year.

The sharks all live in the “twilight” zone of the ocean beyond which sunlight does not penetrate between 200 and 1,000 metres deep.

The species were already known to marine biologists but this was the first time that they were found to emit light, or have bioluminescence.

Among the sharks, the kitefin is the largest-known luminous underwater creature.

It is usually found swimming 300 metres below sea level preying on smaller sharks, ground fish and crustaceans.

The Kitefin shark was among three glow-in-the-dark species found in the deep ocean

The kitefin, which can grow to 180cm, is now the largest-known luminous vertebrate in what researchers referred to as a “giant luminous shark”.

Other sea life, including jellyfish and squid, can emit light as well.

But the sharks’ glowing underbellies might be used to help them hide from predators or other threats, said the researchers.

But as the slow-moving kitefin has few or no predators they reckoned it used its natural glow to illuminate the ocean floor while it searches for food, or to disguise itself while approaching its prey.

They said in the study: “Bioluminescence has often been seen as a spectacular yet uncommon event at sea but considering the vastness of the deep sea and the occurrence of luminous organisms in this zone, it is now more and more obvious that producing light at depth must play an important role structuring the biggest ecosystem on our planet.”

The research, by Jerome Mallefet and Laurent Duchatelet of UC Louvain, and Darren Stevens of New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, was published in Frontiers in Marine Science.

Want to bring a little glamour to your life every day with all the most exciting real-life stories, fashion and even sex tips HOT off the press?

Well, we’ve got you covered with our great new Hot Topics newsletter – it’ll drop straight into your inbox around 7pm and you can unsubscribe whenever you like.

And signing up now means you’ll get a front row seat for our great new series inside the lives of the next generation of Daily Star Page 3 girls.

You can sign up here – you won’t regret it…

Mr Mallefet told New Zealand news website Stuff that 57 out of 540 known shark species could produce bioluminescent light.

Before now, no one had recorded bioluminescent sharks producing light in New Zealand waters, and he said there may be many more.

“They are glowing in the dark. They are not producing flashes. They are glowing for a long time,” he said.





Source link

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here