Pocket shark discovery is only the second ever seen
I came across this story and thought it was so interesting I thought I had to share it. Every day we dive and I bet most of us just look at the big and colorful. Who knows what we have missed through just simply not looking. This opened my eyes and got me thinking. Swim slow and watch everything. Thailand and the dive sites around Phuket are so diverse who knows what we have missed. Next time you are in Phuket scuba diving
think about looking for everything not just the big. There are many specialities
that can be done to help you improve your skills and awareness of the places you are diving.
The second-ever pocket shark was collected off Louisiana. It sort of looks like a tiny whale. Photo: courtesy of FishWatch.gov
A pocket shark—the rarest of sharks with only one specimen ever seen before—has been discovered by scientists, and in the most unusual way.
A male pocket shark measuring 5.5 inches long was collected during a 2010 midwater trawl survey 190 miles south of Louisiana by NOAA/NMFS Southeast Fisheries Science Center while studying prey of sperm whales.
The dead specimen was collected with other sea creatures, bagged up and stored in a giant freezer at NOAA’s lab in Pascagoula, Mississippi, until they could be identified, according to the Associated Press.
NOAA fisheries biologist Mark Grace, lead author on a just released study, has spent more than 30 years going through bags of fish to identify them. It took him three years before coming across the pocket shark.
Associated Press called it a small miracle that the pocket shark hadn’t been tossed out after NOAA’s freezer lost power a couple of times.
The pocket shark measured 5.5 inches. Photo: courtesy of FishWatch.gov
“I wasn’t really sure what it was,” Grace told the Associated Press. “That pocket over on the pectoral fin, I had never seen anything like that on a shark.”
Grace recruited Michael Doosey and Henry Bart, Tulane University researchers, and NOAA Ocean Service genetics expert Gavin Naylor to help him study the rare sea creature, the results of which were published Wednesday in Zootaxa.
“It’s cute,” Doosey told the Associated Press. “It almost looks like a little whale.”
Pocket shark was collected in 2010 but not discovered in the lab until three years ago. Photo: courtesy of FishWatch.gov
The specimen, determined to have just been born, was identified and subsequently sent to New York and France for high-tech examinations.
The first pocket shark was found 36 years ago on the Naska Submarine Ridge in 1,083 feet of water in the southeast Pacific Ocean off Peru. The female specimen is 17 inches long and is currently housed in a Russian museum.
The latest pocket shark will be part of the Royal D. Suttkus Fish Collection at Tulane University’s Biodiversity Research Institute in Belle Chasse, Louisiana.
“Discovering him has us thinking about where mom and dad may be, and how they got to the Gulf [of Mexico],” Grace said in a statement on NOAA’s site. “The only other known specimen was found very far away, off Peru…
“There’s others,” he added via Associated Press. “We just haven’t caught them yet.”
Things like this is why diving is so much fun. So much of the ocean is un explored. You never know what you can see that has never been seen before as long as you look. Thailand has so many isolated reefs and micro eco systems who knows what is there. next time you go diving think about a Speciality course
in Fish identification
, Underwater naturalist
as you never know it may be you that discovers the next new creature. Even better underwater photography
course so you can record the things that you see. This also means you can get some great photos to show all the non divers what they are missing. There are so many other specialities
to choose from so take a look and see what inspires you. Thailand Divers
in Phuket offers so many different courses to suit all tastes. As long as you love diving there is fun to be had and a speciality course
for you. A chance to learn more with an instructor who loves the same things as you..