Ghost sharks are peculiar creatures. They are officially called chimaeras, are older than dinosaurs, and live at great depths of about mile and a half. The species was never filmed alive in the ocean until recently the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California released a video of the creature swimming near the shores of Hawaii.
The video was filmed six years ago but was revealed for the first time by the National Geographic magazine. The video is believed to be the first-ever video of a live ghost shark (Hydrolagus trolli), which is usually found near the coast of New Zealand and Australia. The pointy-nosed blue Chimaera, shown on the footage, originates around 300 million years ago when the species split from the sharks and rays.
If the creature is confirmed to be a ghost shark, it would be the first time the sea creature was found in the Northern Hemisphere. The video was taken by a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), which dived in the waters off the coast of California and Hawaii. Dave Elbert, from Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California, stated that “Normally, people probably wouldn’t have been looking around in this area, so it’s a little bit of dumb luck,” and that “The guys doing the video were actually geologists,” who didn’t look for ghost sharks. It turned out that one ghost shark just swam up to the ROV’s camera.
The creature is believed to be a pointy-nosed blue ghost shark as described by a study published in the journal Marine Biodiversity Records in October 2016. The species features a large, slender body, a narrow evenly tapered head, and a whip-like tail.
Amber Reichert, from the Pacific Shark Research Center at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, and other people involved in the study described the shark (Hydrolagus trolli) as “a highly distinctive chimaera species, often identified by a combination of the following characteristics: an even blue-gray to pale blue color, a pointed snout, a dark margin around the orbit with dark shadows along edges of the lateral line, and preopercular canal and oral canals usually sharing a common branch.”
Ghost sharks do not possess lots of sharp teeth; instead, they have mineral plates. The species hunts smaller prey, found on the bottom of the sea.