Tuesday, August 3, 2010
August 3, 2010 : Goblin Shark
The goblin shark, Mitsukurina owstoni, is a deep-sea shark, the sole living species in the family Mitsukurinidae. The most distinctive characteristic of the goblin shark is the unorthodox shape of its head. It has a long, trowel-shaped, beak-like rostrum or snout, much longer than other sharks' snouts. Some other distinguishing characteristics of the shark are the color of its body, which is mostly pink, and its long, protrusible jaws. When the jaws are retracted, the shark resembles a pink grey nurse shark, Carcharias taurus, with an unusually long nose.
Mitsukurina owstoni is found in the deep ocean, far below where the sun's light can reach at depths greater than 200 m. They can be found throughout the world, from Australia in the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico in the Atlantic Ocean. They are best known from the waters around Japan, where the species was first discovered.
Goblin sharks feed on a variety of organisms that live in deep waters. Among some of their known prey are deep-sea squid, crabs and deep-sea fish. Very little is known about the species' life history and reproductive habits, as encounters with them have been relatively rare. As seemingly rare as they are however, there seems to be no real threat to their populations and so they are not classified as endangered species by the IUCN.