Say hello to the newest member of the shark family, Etmopterus benchleyi, aka Ninja Lanternshark. These small, sleek, black sharks are found in the deep waters off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. The 5 samples collected were found at a range of depths between 836 and 1443 meters which is more than half of a mile deep.
They get their ability to glow comes from the photophores in their skin. It is believed that this ability to glow along with their black coloring allows them to be nearly invisible to their prey when they swim above them. The glow blends in with the very faint natural light that appears at that depth.
They were named Etmopterus benchleyi after Peter Benchley, the author of Jaws and ocean conservationist. The common name came from “four young shark enthusiasts” who likened the shark to a ninja due to its use of stealth and coloring.
Welcome to the family!