The sea is home to amazing rare creatures, and a number of them were found by scientists lurking in the deep waters of New Zealand. Researchers discovered three new species of sharks and all of them glow in the dark!
The sharks, which emit a beautiful bluish glow, were freely roaming the deeper portions of the ocean off the coast of New Zealand. The researchers discovered them at hundreds of feet below the surface.
Researchers then studied the species and came up with new data. The sharks were identified as the kitefin shark (Dalatias licha), the southern lanternshark (Etmopterus granulosus) and the blackbelly lanternshark (Etmopterus lucifer).
Although the discovery was made in January of 2020, it was only recently that the scientists drew up a study, primarily focusing on the kitefin shark. The marine biologists from New Zealand and Belgium published the study in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science.
The kitefin shark was deemed as the largest-known underwater creature that glows in the dark and was named as the "giant luminous shark." The sharks could swim up to 984 feet below sea level, which explains why it took a long time before they were discovered.
Another notable characteristic of the kitefin shark was that they eat other fish. They also thrive on crustaceans and other smaller sharks, considering that they can grow up to almost six feet.
"Bioluminescence has often been seen as a spectacular yet uncommon event at sea but considering the vastness of the deep sea and the occurrence of luminous organisms in this zone, it is now more and more obvious that producing light at depth must play an important role structuring the biggest ecosystem on our planet," the researchers wrote in the study.
The researchers pointed out that the three glow-in-the-dark sharks were found in the area between 656 to 3,200 feet below the surface. Sunlight could no longer reach this area, and it is called as the "twilight zone," New York Post noted.
It was also believed that the glowing characteristic of the sharks were either to attract prey or to hide from prey. Since the kitefins are large, they do not have many predators.