NewsNew "Ghost Shark" species illuminates the depths off Thailand's coast

New "Ghost Shark" species illuminates the depths off Thailand's coast

Scientists discovered a new species of "ghost shark"
Scientists discovered a new species of "ghost shark"
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11:23 AM EDT, March 25, 2024

Scientists have discovered a new species of "ghost shark" in the depths of the Andaman Sea off the coast of Thailand. This creature, measuring approximately 1.6 feet in length, boasts gigantic eyes that glow in the dark and fins that resemble feathers.
Chimaeras, also known as "ghost sharks," are among the world's oldest existing fish species, according to the American Newsweek. Detailed descriptions of the new species, named Chimaera supapae, were published in the Raffles Bulletin of Zoology journal. This ancient shark was discovered at depths exceeding 2,297 feet.
"Ghost sharks" belong to the Chimaeridae family, a group of cartilaginous fish that are distant relatives of sharks and rays. They diverged from these relatives around 400 million years ago and have retained many primitive traits characteristic of ancient fish. Typically, they range from 4.9 to 5.9 feet in length. Their bodies are covered with tooth-like scales, and many species have a long, whip-like tail. Their diet mainly consists of other fish, crustaceans, and mollusks.

A dead, immature male was discovered

Chimaeras inhabit the depths of the ocean, ranging from 1,640 feet to 13,123 feet below the surface. The newly discovered Chimaera supapae has large, glow-in-the-dark eyes, an oversized head, and feather-like fins. It was found during deep-sea research conducted in the Andaman Sea in 2018, where a deceased, immature male measuring about 1.6 feet was discovered.

"Much remains to be explored"

"Until now, there were only 53 species of chimaeras known worldwide. We can now count this as the 54th," said David Ebert, lead author of the study and Program Director of the Pacific Shark Research Center at San Jose State University in California. "Chimaeras are rare in this part of the world. New discoveries like this one highlight how much we still have to learn about the marine environment and the extent of its unexplored territories," the expert added.
The newly discovered chimaera species has been named in honor of Thai scientist Supapa Monkolprasit, who dedicated his life to studying "ghost sharks".
Source: Newsweek, Live Science
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