A2 Information Report

Goblin Shark

Anyone who happens to come across a goblin shark will probably not forget the experience. this is due to its grotesque appearance. It is probably one of the strangest-looking and ugliest sharks you may come across. It is found in deep sea waters all over the world – in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. they are most commonly seen off the Japanese coast.

Japanese fishermen who caught these creatures in the past could not help but notice their protruding snouts. the snout reminded them of “tengu” from their folklore. tengu was a long-nosed, red-faced goblin-like creature. So the species was called tengu-zame, by the Japanese. this was translated into English as “goblin shark,” or “elfin shark”. It is also sometimes known as the vampire shark because it avoids the light by living deep in the sea. Goblin sharks can be found as deep as 1300m in the sea.

When people think of the goblin shark, they think of Japan. the first specimen was found off the coast of Japan in 1898 by a naturalist named Alan Owston. Unaware of what it was, he gave the strange creature to a Japanese scientist, Kakichi Mitsuriki. the animal is named after them both. Its scientific name is Mitsukurina Owstoni.

the goblin shark is rarely seen and much of its life is still a mystery to us. For example, we don’t know how goblin sharks mate or much about their birth cycles. We do know that they grow very large. the largest shark found was 12.6 feet long and weighed 463 pounds.

the goblin shark’s “nose” is its most famous feature. It is actually a snout that is long and looks like a giant blade called a rostrum. People think that the shark uses it to poke around for food in narrow crevices. Or, maybe it has a sensory system that allows it to pick up the electrical signals of prey underwater. this what another shark, the hammerhead, does. the hammerhead has a large flat head so that it can hold the special organs which can detect electrical signals from their food. Researchers think that the goblin shark’s nose is also for that purpose.

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grotesque – very ugly or absurd; bizarre.
elfin – like an elf.
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