Ghost Shark, the pointy-nosed blue chimaera, spotted off the coast of Hawaii

Ghost Shark, the pointy-nosed blue chimaera, spotted off the coast of Hawaii

The deep-sea thriving pointy-nosed blue chimaera or ghost shark has been captured on camera for the first time, off the coasts of Hawaii and California. The pointy-nosed blue chimaera is considered rare and it has been earlier found only in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. Ghost sharks have very strange features and as they live in deep-sea, they are with pale eyes.

The pointy-nose blue chimaera showcased in recently released video, has been termed as the first of its kind, by scientists. The video was captured in 2009 and released recently by Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.

Ghost sharks use tooth plates instead of teeth to grind food. They are also termed as ratfish, rabbitfish, spookfish. Male ghost sharks have retractable sex organ on their head. Scientists suggest that ghost shark split off from sharks and rays, possibly 300 million years back. As they stay in deep sea, our knowledge about them in limited.

The video was captured at a depth of 6,700 feet by a remotely operated vehicle. The species captured by ROV has earlier been seen only in the southwestern Pacific Ocean.

In a report published on rare discovery, 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.”

The footage shows the dead-eyed fishes prefer rocky outcrops compared to the flat, soft-bottom terrain that's usually the domain of other ghost shark species. Ebert added, “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 blue chimaera was first discovered by researcher Dominique Didier Dagit in 2002, in the deep waters around Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia.

Commenting on the discovery, Dagit said, “It's kind of nice to be able to name a species for someone. I thought, 'Here's my chance to name a fish for someone who's really interested.' It kind of looks like him, [but with] less facial hair.”

Researcher Lonny Lundsten and his colleagues the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute said, “If and when the researchers can get their hands on one of these fish, they will be able to make detailed measurements of its fins and other body parts and perform DNA analysis on its tissue.”

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