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Goblin Shark

Goblin Shark

The Goblin Shark is a deep-sea shark, the sole living species in the family Mitsukurinidae. As seemingly rare as they are however, there seems to be no real threat to their populations and so they are not classified as endangered species by the IUCNGoblin sharks are most often encountered as fisheries' bycatch. As they stay near the sea bottom, they are usually caught via deep bottom-set gillnets and sea-bottom long line fishing. They are also sometimes caught by trawling. In addition, they are sometimes found entangled by deep-sea fishing lines.

DescriptionEdit

The most distinctive characteristic of the goblin shark is the unusual shape of its head. It has a long, trowel-shaped, beak-like rostrum or snout, much longer than other sharks' snouts. Some other distinguishing characteristics of the shark are the color of its body, which is mostly pink, and its long, protrusible jaws. When the jaws are retracted, the shark resembles a pinkish sand tiger shark, Carcharias taurus, with an unusually long nose.

Male Goblin sharks commonly grow between 2.4 and 3.1 m (7.9 and 10 ft) long and females between 3.1–3.5 m (10–11 ft). The largest verified specimen was 3.9 m (13 ft) and weighed 210 kg (460 lb), although one unusual specimen was estimated to measure an enormous 6.2 m (20 ft).They have the typical shark's semi-fusiform body. Unlike the common image of sharks, M. owstoni's fins are not pointed and instead are low and rounded, with the anal and pelvic fins significantly larger than the dorsal fins. Their heterocercal tails are similar to the thresher shark's, with the upper lobe significantly longer proportionately than other sharks'. In addition, the goblin shark's tail lacks a ventral lobe.

The pink coloration, unique among sharks, is due to blood vessels underneath a semi-transparent skin (which bruises easily), thereby causing the coloring.The shark appears to be pink when it is alive, gradually turning brown shortly after death. The fins have a bluish appearance. Goblin sharks lack a nictitating membrane. They have no precaudal pit and no keels. The front teeth are long and smooth-edged, while the rear teeth are adapted for crushing.

Up to 25% of the goblin shark's body weight can be its liver. This is similar to other sharks, such as the basking shark and the frilled shark, and contributes to the buoyancy of the shark, which, like all sharks, lacks a swim bladder.

HabitatEdit

Mitsukurina owstoni is a bathydemersal deep-water shark usually found near the sea bottom, at depths of around 250 m. The deepest specimen ever caught was found at 1,300 m.

BehaviorEdit

Goblin sharks hunt by sensing the presence of prey with electro-sensitive organs in the rostrum, or snout, due to the absence of light in the deep waters where it swims. Once a shark finds its prey, it suddenly protrudes its jaws, while using a tongue-like muscle to suck the victim into its sharp front teeth.

FoodEdit

Goblin sharks feed on a variety of organisms that live in deep waters. Among some of their known prey are deep-sea squidcrabs, and deep-sea fish.

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