31 Oct 2018

Rabbitfish © Magnus Lundgren.

What better time to celebrate some spookily awesome sharks?

In the deepest darkest parts of our oceans lies a whole other world! One where ghosts, goblins and lanterns of a different kind dwell...


Halloween wouldn't be complete without us championing chimaera. Otherwise known as ghost sharks. Take a look at this video to see why. These remarkable and strange deep-sea creatures are very closely related to sharks. Yet they remain even more of an enigma. In Greek mythology, the 'chimera' was a mythical monstrous fire-breathing hybrid composed of parts from other animals. And in reality, chimaera do display a wide range of bizarre features seemingly taken from other more familiar animals. Some have the large eyes and teeth of a rabbit. Others the snout of a rhino. And some the long tapering body of a dragon. Although we're yet to discover a species that can breathe fire! Their markings also make them look stitched together - a bit like Frankenstein's monster. But far from being scary we think they're rather endearing! What do you think? We'd love to know.


Goblin Shark © Marc Dando.

Somewhere hiding in the dark...a pink transparent shark! Like ghosts, Goblin Sharks are slightly see-through. Because of this you can (rather gruesomely) see their blood vessels under their skin. And it's this that gives them their pinkish colour. As well as this, these bizarre looking sharks have alien-esque jaws which they shoot out at lightning speed and with pin-point accuracy. So any creatures dwelling nearby certainly need to have their wits about them. 


Smooth Lanternshark © Marc Dando.

Forget pumpkins. These amazing little critters brighten the darkest and scariest depths of the ocean by making their bellies glow! They do this mainly to hide from predators. Although lighting yourself up like a beacon in the dark may seem counter intuitive it actually helps to conceal their silhouette from predators looking up from below. This effective camouflage strategy is known as counter illumination. Lanternsharks also use bioluminscence during mating, to recognise members of the same species, and to warn off predators. When threatened they'll even light up their defensive spikes like a light sabre!


Cookiecutter Shark © Marc Dando.

We recommend avoiding these little fellows while you're out trick-or-treating. For, despite their name, they aren't the bearer of sweet treats. Instead they're known for something more sinister... These unassuming sharks may be small but they boast a mighty impressive set of gnashers. And they're known to feast on much larger prey. Using their powerful jaws they remove small 'cookie-cutter' shaped chunks of flesh from their unsuspecting victims. Larger sharks and whales beware! Even submarines aren't safe and may bear the mark of the Cookie Cutter Shark.

If you haven't already, watch the video below to discover yet more unusual sharks. Including more about some of these fascinating species that really aren't that scary after all.


From all of us at the Shark Trust!