Scientists studying sharks off the coast of New Zealand have discovered three deep-sea species that glow in the dark: one of them has become the largest known vertebrate.
The size of the shark reaches 180 centimeters. For the first time, scientists have recorded a glow in such large vertebrates. Prior to that, scientists believed that bioluminescence was characteristic only of its small counterparts, which are a maximum of 42 centimeters in length.
Scientists have recorded bioluminescence for the first time in a black shark that lives in the deep sea off the coast of New Zealand.
All three species live in the so-called mesopelagic, or “twilight” zone of the ocean at depths from 200 to 1,000 meters. Only 1% of the light falls into the upper boundaries of the zone from the surface, and then it completely disappears.
Observing their glow from above will not work, since it comes from the peritoneal region. The authors cannot yet explain the function of the glow in the black shark. Most often, bioluminescence is needed to scare away predators, but Dalatias licha has no natural enemies.
While it is assumed that predators use their light to camouflage and search for food on the bottom, however, marine biologists hope to find out the exact purpose of this ability in the course of further research.