May 18, 2023
Scientists at the Australian National Fish Collection (ANFC) have been searching for the origins of a strange, unidentified egg sac for over 40 years. And now that they’ve found the shark it belongs to?
“(It’s) kind of a bit spooky,” research technician Helen O’Neill told The New York Times.
The eeriness starts with the creature’s name. It is called the demon catshark. The name fits. It has a coal-black body, 40 to 110 rows of razor-sharp teeth, and large, cat-like eyes, which seem to glow white in the murky depths.
"I can imagine, if you're a smaller prey out there, it would look like a demon coming in to get you," Dr. Will White of the ANFC told Business Insider.
To discover the shark, White and his team worked backwards from a 40-year-old egg sac in their collection. It was found clinging to coral, and it had an unusual series of ridges. It was quite unlike anything seen on other catshark eggs. Tracing the egg back to where it was found, White discovered a single specimen of the small, black shark. It was female, and it had an intact egg pouch with the tell-tale eggs.
White’s team named the species Apristurus ovicorrugatus (ovi — egg; corrugatus — ridged). And while they are happy about the discovery, they know there is still much to learn about the deep-sea dweller, which remains “a jigsaw puzzle with 100 other pieces missing,” White said.
Photo from csirogram via Instagram.
Reflect: What do you find most fascinating about the hidden world beneath the deep sea, and what mysteries and creatures do you think are still waiting to be discovered?
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