Earlier this week, NOAA’s deep sea expedition team on board the Okeanos Explorer came across an incredible find: a baby shark still developing inside its transparent egg case. The baby shark, likely a catshark, was filmed at a depth of 820 feet (250 m) west of the Desecheo Island, an uninhabited island part of the archipelago of Puerto Rico (NOAA, 2018).
NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer report on their Facebook page:
“The embryo is likely that of a catshark in the genus Scyliorhinus, which are known to lay their egg cases on benthic organisms like corals (seen here) and sponges. We have observed adult catsharks in this area during both the 2018 and 2015 Océano Profundo expeditions.”
Watch as the baby shark wiggles around attached to its yolk sac, safe inside its egg case. The egg case, often referred to as a mermaid’s purse, it held securely to the coral structure by long twisting tendrils on each corner of the case. Here the pup will develop over the next several months until the yolk sac is depleted before emerging as a fully formed shark, ready to hunt (Skomal, 2016).
Inner Space Center [Videographer]. (2018 November 16). Okeanos Explorer Video Bite: Rare Baby Shark Still in Egg Case [Video Clip]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/
If you missed this week’s out of this world Featured Species, be sure to go check out the Scalloped Hammerhead! And be sure to stop by Friday for the next installment. Who would you like to see featured? Leave me a message and you just might see your favorite species next week!
The new Ocean For Sharks Shop is open! There’s handmade ocean inspired plush animals, canvas paintings, and of course my children’s book, Winifred the Wondrous Whale Shark, available in print and PDF. Be sure to stop by. Remember proceeds benefit shark research and conservation with a donation to Project AWARE!
Remember conservation legislation needs public support in order to become law and help protect the environment and wildlife. Tell your representatives that you care about environmental and wildlife conservation. It only takes a moment to make a change that will last a lifetime. Until next time finatics!
Featured Image Source
Inner Space Center [Videographer]. (2018 November 16). Okeanos Explorer Video Bite: Rare Baby Shark Still in Egg Case [Screen Capture]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/
NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer. (2018). Retrieved November 25, 2018, from https://www.facebook.com/NOAAShipOkeanosExplorer/posts/1272877199521029
Skomal, G. (2016). The Shark Handbook: The Essential Guide for Understanding the Sharks of the World. (2nd ed.). Kennebunkport, ME: Cider Mill Press.