Scientists have discovered a new species of shark lurking in the depths of the Pacific Ocean. Dubbed the “ninja lanternshark,” the specimen is jet black and uses its glow-in-the-dark abilities to disguise itself from prey.
The species was first discovered in 2010, according to a paper published in the Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation. It has since been found in parts of the eastern Pacific Ocean spanning from from Nicaragua to Panama, with a majority found off Costa Rica. A total of eight specimens have been found. The largest is about a foot and a half long.
“We don’t know a lot about lanternsharks,” the paper’s first author, Victoria Vásquez, told Hakai Magazine. Vásquez is a graduate student at California’s Pacific Shark Research Center. “They don’t get much recognition compared to a great white. So when it came to this shark I wanted to give it an interesting story.”
She told the magazine the shark was named by her cousins. In the paper, they were described as young shark enthusiasts who believed the specimen’s sleek appearance and stealthy behavior was “somewhat reminiscent of the typical outfit and stealthy behavior of a Japanese ninja.”
Scientists believe the ninja lanternshark uses its glow-in-the-dark abilities to blend in with the bits of light found in their habitats. Researchers say the sharks have been found in waters between 2,749 feet and 4734 feet below the surface.