Mysterious Arctic Shark Got Lost and Landed in Caribbean Scientists

Mysterious Arctic Shark Got Lost and Landed in Caribbean: Scientists – Business Insider

A Greenland shark photo taken on the edge of the ice floe at Admiralty Inlet, Nunavut, 2007. Hemming1952/Wikimedia Commons

  • A shark has been found in the Caribbean – thousands of kilometers from its usual habitat in the Arctic.
  • The Greenland shark, which has a lifespan of 250 to 500 years, surprised researchers in Belize.
  • “It looked like something that would have existed in prehistoric times,” said one biologist.

Biologists were stunned when they found a mysterious cold-water shark thousands of kilometers from its natural habitat, according to a recent marine study. A Greenland shark – the longest living vertebrate on Earth – has been discovered in the tropical Caribbean Sea.

Researchers were temporarily tagging and catching tiger sharks off the coast of Belize when they came across the mysterious shark, according to a recent paper published in the scientific journal Marine Biology.

After setting up a line in the protected Glover’s Reef Atoll in Belize while monitoring and researching tiger sharks, the biologists returned to find that their line had traveled several miles from the coral reef into waters up to 2,000 feet deep.

When they reeled in their scientific catch, they were amazed to find the ancient Greenland shark. One of the researchers, Hector Daniel Martinez, noted: “It looked very, very old,” highlighting its deep-sea habitat.

Scientists originally suspected it might be a sixgill shark, a dominant deep-sea predator, but when they photographed the rarely seen animal, they confirmed it was “most likely” a Greenland shark.

“Suddenly we saw a very slow, sluggish creature under the surface of the water,” said Devanshi Kasana, a biologist and graduate student. candidate at Florida International University’s Predator Ecology and Conservation Lab, Mashable reported. “It looked like something that would have existed in prehistoric times.”

According to the National Ocean Service, Greenland sharks are the longest-living vertebrates on Earth, with a staggering life expectancy of 250 to 500 years.

The sharks live several thousand meters underwater in complete darkness and are rarely seen or photographed. Few details are known about her incredibly long life. In the depths of the water they grow, move and age slowly. Their low-energy, slow-moving lifestyle is an essential adaptation to the nutrient-poor deep sea.

The discovery of a Greenland shark near a coral reef off Belize was unexpected but plausible. These unknown sharks thrive in the deep sea areas of the Arctic and may also live in other deep sea regions, including the Caribbean.

The slope of the nearby reef drops to a depth of 9,500 feet, providing a cold and dark environment suitable for Greenland sharks.

The discovery raises the question of whether this particular Greenland shark migrated to the Caribbean from Arctic waters or whether it spent much of its life in the depths of the region’s tropical waters.

It remains unanswered, but there is a strong possibility that more of these mysterious creatures are roaming the dark depths of the Caribbean, hidden from our eyes. “I doubt it’s the only thing,” Demian Chapman, director of Sharks and Rays Conservation Research at Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, told Mashable.

“They have to wait more than 100 years to get laid”

The deep sea is still largely unexplored and the discovery of this Arctic shark is a reminder that the ocean and its biosphere are still largely unknown.

A 2020 study used genetic analysis to find that there are two geographically separate populations of Greenland sharks: One group swims near Canada’s Baffin Basin above the Arctic Circle, while the other lives nearby in the waters of the North Atlantic between Nova Scotia and Svalbard lives in Norway.

Greenland sharks are primarily scavengers and will eat anything (dead or alive), including fish, seals, polar bears and whales.

Some can grow up to 24 feet long and weigh up to 1,200 kilograms, although they only grow up to 1 centimeter annually.

According to a 2016 study, Greenland sharks do not reach sexual maturity until they are at least 134 years old.

“They have to wait more than 100 years to get laid – I’m sure they’re not happy about it,” Julius Nielsen, co-author of that study, told New Scientist in 2016.

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