Ghost sharks have captivated shark-lovers such as myself for many years. However, as their name suggests, ghost sharks are elusive. They are “deep-sea” sharks which means they live 984 feet below sea level. No wonder these beautiful and strange creatures have been under the radar for so long.
But luckily for us, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute released video of a ghost shark swimming off the coast of Hawaii and California. It is the first known footage of this species of ghost shark, the pointy-nosed blue chimaera, and it’s beyond cool.
Interestingly, this incredible footage is actually the result of what Dave Ebert, program director for the Pacific Shark Research Center at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, calls “dumb luck.” The people recording the video were actually geologists, and they had no idea that they were going to capture one of the most elusive and enigmatic creatures in the world on film.
Take a look at the breathtaking video below:
Before we go any further, it’s worth noting that although these creatures are commonly called “ghost sharks,” they actually are not sharks. They are chimaeras, distant relatives to the shark and the ray. So, although they share many characteristics with their cousin the shark, they are actually in a class by themselves.
That being said, the “ghost shark” is a fascinating creature indeed. First of all, like many other aquatic species, the ghost shark has been around since before dinosaurs roamed the earth. Second of all, the male ghost shark has a retractable penis protruding out of his head.
Um, yes, really.
National Geographic describes it as a “club-like sex organ” and it is theorized that the male shark may use it to help arouse his mates and coax them into lovemaking.
Wow. Who would have guessed that this strange-looking animal was such a ladies’ man?!