New shark species can light up the sea

New York, Dec 30 (IANS) Researchers have discovered a new species of lanternshark that can light up the dark and deep sea for its benefit.

Called Etmopterus benchleyi, the newly identified species is the only lanternshark discovered in the the Pacific coast of Central America, the researchers said.

It is one among 40 other lanternshark species with the ability to glow in the oceans.

But the new species can be distinguished from its closest relatives based on a combination of colouration, proportional body measurements, arrangement of dermal denticles, and size at maturity, the study said.

It has a uniform dark-black coulouring, as opposed to the greys and browns seen on other lanternsharks, said study lead author Vicky Vasquez from Pacific Shark Research Center in California, US.

The newly identified shark also has a different number and distribution of photophores, which are the tiny cup-shaped organs that give lanternsharks the ability to glow, Live Science reported.

Other lanternsharks have photophores all over their bellies, but the new shark has fewer, and most are concentrated on its head, Vasquez said.

For the project, the researchers conducted a thorough analysis the traits of the species they observed in 2010.

Although the researchers have not yet seen the new shark actually glow, they believe that just like its lanternshark relatives, the new species would also gives off a blue light.

The findings appeared in the Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation.

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