A new species of glow-in-the-dark shark has been discovered in New Zealand

A new study has found that three species of shark have an unusual ability: They are bioluminescent. They are actually able to “shine” in the dark depths of the sea, possibly to merge and protect themselves from the attacks of other predators.

Three species of glow-in-the-dark sharks have been spotted off the coast of New Zealand. unique discovery, Posted in Frontiers in marine sciencesIt is the work of scientists from the Marine Biology LaboratoryCatholic University of Louvain in Belgium and those in National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research Niwa from Wellington, New Zealand.



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It is the first time that bioluminescence (a phenomenon common among marine organisms) has been documented and analyzed in three species of shark: the blond shark (Dalatias licha), the black woolly or lucifer shark (Etmopterus lucifer) and the southern lantern shark (Etmopterus granulosus). The first, the shaggy shark (which can be up to 180 cm in length), is now the largest known luminous vertebrate and has been referred to by researchers as the “giant luminous shark.”

Picture of Frontiers in Marine Sciences

Researchers’ hypotheses


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According to the research authors, the findings will have important implications for our understanding of life in the deep sea. All sharks live in what is known as the mid-surface or “auroral” zone of the ocean, at a depth of between 200 and 1,000 meters, beyond which sunlight does not penetrate. The researchers speculate that the bright undercoat of these three species could help camouflage them, hiding them from predators that might come from below. It is also possible that they use the natural glow to illuminate the ocean floor as they search for food.

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light shark
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