Life on Earth never ceases to amaze people who thrive on information about the living species that inhabit this beautiful planet. The goblin shark is a good example of one such living species that lives in the depths of the sea. As it lives in such a dark region, it is also called the vampire shark. Here are some more facts about this shark.
What is its scientific classification?
This shark belongs to the kingdom animalia and the phylum chordate. It is from the mitsukurinidae family and genus mitsukurina.
Where is it found?
The Goblin shark or mitsukurina owstoni is found deep in the ocean, in the area where the sun's light cannot reach. A large number of these sharks that have been caught were from Japan.
These specimens have also been found in the waters off South Africa and various other sites that are located throughout the western Pacific Ocean. Some have also been found off the coasts of New Zealand and Australia.
The Atlantic Ocean too has been a part of this discovery, with many of these sharks having been found in the western Atlantic area. The Gulf of Mexico is another area that has been part of this discovery.
How to recognize one?
A goblin shark is easy to recognize because it has a long beak that is shaped like a trowel. Apart from this feature, you can also recognize it from the color of its body, which is mostly pink owing to the blood vessels that are located underneath a semi-transparent skin. It does not possess a nictitating membrane, precaudal pit, and keels.
It has long and smooth-edged front teeth while the teeth at the back are made is such a way that it assists the animal in crushing the prey. Along with these features, it has fins that are low and rounded, with the anal and pelvic fins larger than the dorsal. This shark lacks a ventral lobe.
How does it find and devour its prey?
The goblin shark uses the electro sensing organs that are located in the rostrum or snout to hunt for its prey. An interesting aspect about this shark is that it has a very large liver, which is normally found in sharks that do not feed very frequently. It is interesting because this shark is a regular feeder.
When the shark detects its prey, it extends its jaw and sucks the prey in, crushing it with its powerful teeth. This jaw extension is possible because of the presence of two elastic-like ligaments. This shark is known to ambush its prey and attack because it cannot swim very fast.
What does it consume?
This shark mainly consumes organisms that live at the depths that it does. It consumes stingrays, fish like dragonfish and the rattail, mollusks, crabs, crustaceans, and even squid. However, some studies have revealed that it feeds on organisms both near the sea floor and also way above it.
How does it reproduce?
As this shark lives very deep in the sea, not many studies and researches have been possible regarding its reproduction cycle. Although unsure, scientists believe that the female carries the eggs inside herself and releases the babies after the eggs hatch. Studies are still going on in this regard.
What is the role of the goblin shark in the ecosystem?
Apart from the fact that it is a predator, very little is known about its role in the benthic community or mid-water.
What is the size of the goblin shark?
From the studies that have been conducted on this shark, adult sharks are estimated to be between 10 to 13 feet (2 to 4 meters) long. However, in the year 2000, a female measuring 18 feet was captured, which proves that this animal can keep growing beyond the estimated size. The heaviest recorded shark, which was 12 feet long, weighed 460 pounds (200 kg).