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Newly described pocket shark likely glows in the dark

A new species of pocket shark has been discovered in the eastern Gulf of Mexico region by scientists researching the sperm whales diet. While collecting numerous animals from the depth of the ocean in the region, a small shark measuring 14cms in length was found by Mark Grace of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) among he collection of animals. Identified as a new species of pocket sharks, Grace and his team have named it the American pocket shark, or Mollisquama mississippiensis, “in recognition of the vast North American Mississippi River Basin; a biologically and geographically rich region that nurtures Gulf of Mexico fauna and unites diverse cultures”. They wrote in the research paper submitted to and published in Zootaxa that the proposed common name recognizes the “extraordinary Americas of the Western Hemisphere.” Only two pocket sharks have ever been caught from the ocean. The previous specimen, M. parini, was collected from the eastern Pacific Ocean, and has subtle differences from he newly discovered species. The pocket shark are so named due to small pocket-like openings or glands found behind each of its pectoral fins, rather than for its small size. Researchers conjecture that the species may glow in the dark due to the presence of numerous light-producing organs or photophores covering much of the body.

 

As reported by Mongabay

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