The Elusive Goblin Shark Makes an Appearance…But Wait, That’s Not All!

One look at its ghoulish jaw and it’s clear where the goblin shark gets its name. This deep sea creature is so rarely seen that little is known about its habits. The goblin shark easily keeps out of sight, living at depths of 1,000-3,000 ft (300-900 m) underwater. It is found along the coast of Japan and the Gulf of Mexico, in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

On April 19th, a fisherman, Carl Moore, caught a live specimen during a long fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico. He is one out of only a handful of people that have ever even seen a live specimen with their own eyes. Lucky for us, he made sure to photograph the live shark before releasing it back into the ocean. 

First thing I told them boys was, ‘Man, he’s ugly! Looks prehistoric to me,’ Moore said.

This chance encounter was quite exciting and the news quickly spread. But it wasn’t until scientists took a closer look at his photos that they realized the goblin shark was just one of the unique finds that day. Moore’s photos include shots of giant isopods, invertebrate animals resembling large pill bugs. These sea crustaceans are related to shrimp and crabs, thriving deep on the dark ocean floor. Most can grow up to lengths of 16 in (40cm) or more. Although giant isopods are not scarce, they are rarely caught in large groups.

© Carl Moore. Upon a closer look, several large isopods are visible in the fisherman’s catch. Can you count all of them? Answer below.

One of the largest isopods ever discovered, was estimated to be around 2.5 ft (76 cm) long. Yikes! The following story and photos of this giant creature were shared on Reddit by Gwynzer:

I work for a Sub-sea Survey Company, recently this beast came up attached to one of our ROVs. It measures a wee bit over 2.5 feet head to tail, and we expect it latched onto the ROV at roughly 8500ft depth. Unfortunately, the e-mail that these pictures were attached to came from a contractor, and the ship he was operating from (and therefore location) is unknown, so I can’t tell you what part of the Earth this beast was living.

Check out the following videos to see a goblin shark and isopod in action. I hope it goes to prove that they aren’t as scary as we immediately assume. Unfortunately, for some this will probably just end up adding to your nightmares.

Pay close attention to how the goblin shark’s jaw moves forward in order to bite prey:

Watch this to see an isopod scurrying on the sea floor:

Having trouble spotting the isopods? This might help:

I count 13. How many did you get?

 

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