A group of marine researchers have recently made a baffling discovery off the coast of New Zealand. Scientists from the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium and the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in New Zealand, caught on camera three bioluminescent shark species.
The discovery has been made in a place known as Chatham Rise – a few miles off of the New Zealand’s east coast, during an expedition on January 2020. The three shark species are the blackbelly lanternshark, the southern lanternshark and the kitefin shark, which is also the largest of the species. It can measure up to 6ft and it is nicknamed “the giant luminous shark.”
Although bioluminescence – the production of visible light through a chemical reaction by living organisms – is frequently found at marine creatures, this is the first time it is discovered at these shark species, The Guardian reports. However, according to Jérôme Mallefet, co-author of the study, at least 57 of the 540 known shark species, are capable to produce bioluminescence.
What all these sharks have in common is the ocean zone they have been discovered. The so called “twilight” zone, which is 656 to 2,953 feet deep, the study, published in the Frontiers in Marine Science journal, reveals.
Scientists have taken the first-ever photos of a glow-in-the-dark shark producing its own light.
— CNN (@CNN) March 4, 2021
According to Jérôme Mallefet, these creatures “use light to disappear.” He also pointed “that producing light at depth must play an important role structuring the biggest ecosystem on our planet.”