Scientists have discovered three new shark species that glow in the deep, dark waters off New Zealand.
According to a recent article in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science:
“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 scientists were able to document the luminescence of three species of deepwater sharks (Dalatias licha, Etmopterus lucifer, and Etmopterus granulosus) from the Chatham Rise, an area of ocean floor east of New Zealand. They compared pictures of these glowing sharks, and through further analysis were able to “highlight the evolutive conservation of the bioluminescence process within” those species.
“This first experimental study of three luminous shark species from New Zealand provides an insight into the diversity of shark bioluminescence and highlights the need for more research to help understand these unusual deep-sea inhabitants: the glowing sharks.”
Check out the full article here.
(Image credit: Frontiers in Marine Science)