Two men fishing off San Diego California have sighted a pair of megamouth sharks. Not only are the sharks very rarely seen, as they live as deep as 15,000 feet, the pair may have been a mating couple.
According to Newseek there have been fewer than 300 sightings of the shark since it was first discovered in 1976. In that year, according to Hawaii.gov a 14.5 foot megamouth became entangled in a sea anchor of a U.S, Navy research ship. At the time it was thought there were about 300 species of sharks in the world, that estimate has since risen to 380. About 40 species make Hawaii their home. Researchers eventually realized megamouths were the first discovered of a whole family new to science.
Megamouths can be found on the surface, but range to 15,000 feet deep. They are like basking sharks and whale sharks in that they feed on plankton which they filter out of the seawater they take in. At 18 feet in length they are smaller than either basking sharks (up to 25 feet) or whale sharks (up to 33 feet) and inhabit a different t ocean niche. Videos of the two sharks showed one had claspers extended. Claspers are used by sharks, rays and some insects to hold the female in place during copulation. So the inference is the pair were about to mate.
A few months ago, a deep sea Greenland shark was seen in tropical waters, another unusual sight, Greenland sharks are also deep water sharks, often found off the coast of Greenland. They are not plankton eaters, but hunters who prey on fish.
Greenland Sharks live near Greenland and they can be found across the Arctic and North Atlantic Oceans from the surface down to about 7,000 feet. They are big but slow moving and normally non-threatening. One might have attacked a human in 1859, so be careful as it may still be out there. They are carnivorous and subsist on fish and sometimes animals such as horses that drown and sink.
The fact that they seem to prefer cold water makes it surprising that one was recently spotted off the coast of Belize. Belize is in the Gulf of Mexico and borders Guatemala and Mexico. The shark was reeled in when it rose to some bait while researchers were investigating Tiger shark behavior.
According to Forbes Magazine:” Greenland sharks remain somewhat of an enigma to science. What is known about them is they tend to prefer the frigid waters of the Arctic and North Atlantic oceans, but they could be trolling the depths of the ocean all across the world. There is just so much scientists don’t know about them yet. ”
There remains some question about what kind of shark rose to the bait. The betting is on a Greenland shark. The most that is certain is that it is in the same family as the Greenland and it was big. It probably was a Greenland. But it is possible it is a hybrid with its close relative, a Pacific sleeper shark. Research findings were published in the journal Marine Biology.
Scientists might have made another surprising discovery. Yesterday (sic) we noted that modern research suggests plesiosaurs lived in fresh water. That was not believed previously. It may have implications regarding the Loch Ness Monster. Which has moved up the scale of plausibility.