Researchers have discovered three types of luminous sharks in the sea near New Zealand. It‘s about the fake dogshark, the devil’s lantern shark and the southern lantern shark. The species were already known, but that they could give light was not yet known, reports the British newspaper The Guardian on the basis of research by the Belgian Université catholique de Louvain.
The false dogshark can reach 180 centimeters long and is now the largest known vertebrate that can give light. The researchers say that the discovery shows how few people still know about the deep sea. These sharks all live between 200 meters and 1 kilometer deep in the water, an area known as the twilight zone.
The purpose of the shining bellies of the sharks is not yet known. The researchers believe that the two smaller shark species use it as protection against attacks from the depths. The false dogshark has no known natural enemies, so it may use it to spot prey animals. Further research should show that.
“Given the vastness of the deep ocean and how many luminous organisms occur in this area, it becomes more and more clear that producing light at that depth plays an important role in the largest ecosystem of our planet,” wrote the researchers. The deep ocean is also the least explored ecosystem.