New species of mini shark discovered that emits light from the sides of the body

A new species of “mini shark” has been identified by a group of researchers from Tulane University, United States. It is a Mollisquama mississippiensis, also referred to as the American Pocket Shark, the American pocket shark.

Scientists have discovered five characteristics of this shark that are not present in the only other “pocket” specimen. The latter was captured in the eastern Pacific Ocean in 1979 and his body is now in the St. Petersburg zoological museum. The new species, on the other hand, was identified in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 and was then described, following careful analysis lasting all these years, in an article published in Zootaxa.

“Both are separate species, each originating from separate oceans, both extremely rare,” says Mark Grace, a researcher at the Mississippi Laboratories of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), to point out that these are two distinctly distinct species.

Furthermore, this new identification also shows that the Gulf of Mexico is probably rich in many other species yet to be discovered, especially as regards the deep areas, as Henry Bart, another researcher engaged in the study that led to the identification of the new small shark, adds.

Among the differences identified with respect to the Russian species, there are fewer vertebrae and different photophores on the body, special small organs on the skin that produce light. Both species, in fact, are capable of producing a luminous fluid in the area near the gills.

The researchers used a dissecting microscope as well as X-ray images and high-resolution tomographic scans to take close-up photos of the animal’s body.

Katherine Turner

I am a Psychology major and have held a long career in journalism, having worked as an editor for a number of publications in Delaware including Beach Paper and Middletown Transcript. I am a volunteer contributor to Capstory News and am responsible for proofreading, editing, writing stories and also helping out with WordPress issues from time to time.

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Katherine Turner