A new species of lanternshark has been described from the central eastern Pacific Ocean.
The shark has been given the scientific name of Etmopterus benchleyi. The species is named in honour of Peter Benchley, author of Jaws and subsequently an avid shark conservationist.
The common name of 'Ninja' lanternshark refers to the uniform black colour of the shark and the photophores in its skin it uses to produce a faint glow in the deep, dark water (up to 1443 metres depth) in which it lives. This is thought to act as concealment allowing the shark to blend in with the limited light and making it invisible from below, somewhat reminiscent of the clothes and stealth used by the Japanese ninja. In line with Mr. Benchley’s outreach efforts, the privilege of deciding the common name was bestowed upon four young shark enthusiasts, ages 8 to 14 — relatives of one of the researchers, Victoria Elena Vásquez of the Pacific Shark Research Centre.
The maximum size of the new shark is at least 51.5cm TL (adult female).
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