The newly hatched, or neonate, ghost shark was found at a depth of 1200m off the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island. The rare discovery of a juvenile ghost shark off New Zealand’s South Island coast will help researchers better understand the biology and ecology of this mysterious deep water fish.

Ghost sharks or chimaeras are one of the most elusive fish species in the world. They have existed for hundreds of millions of years, but not much is known about them because they usually reside at depths of up to 2,000 metres. The neonate or hatchling was found at a depth of 1,200 metres.

Ghost sharks, also known as ratfish, spook fish or rabbitfish, are not actual sharks but are closely related to sharks and rays. They are cartilaginous, meaning their bodies have stiff armour-like plates and bone-like cartilage. Adult ghost sharks have venomous spines in front of their dorsal fins. Embryos grow inside their egg capsules on the sea floor and feed off the capsules until ready to hatch (between 6 to 12 months).

Critical missing details about the species’ life cycle makes monitoring chimaera populations difficult. Sixteen per cent of all ghost shark species are threatened or near threatened.

Picture Credit : Google 

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