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169 views • July 15, 2020

Megamouth Sharks, Gentle Giants of the Deep Sea

Natural World Facts
Megamouth Sharks | Deep Sea Wonders The Megamouth Shark swims with its mouth open wide to filter plankton from the water. They spend most of their lives down here in the Abyss, at times descending to 15,000 feet below. However, a tag placed on a megamouth shark in the early 1990s gave evidence that this shark follows 24-hour cycles, spending its days in deep water and emerging at the surface at night. Similar to Greenland sharks and other creatures of the depths, the Megamouth exhibits Deep Sea Gigantism, with one specimen found off the coast of Taiwan measuring more than 23 feet long. But with pectoral fins smaller than its enlarged head, and an asymmetrical caudal fin, it is not a skilled swimmer. A shark of this size would be enough to make many terrified, and yet it poses no threat to us. It is one of only 3 known filter feeding sharks, including the basking shark and whale shark, and like them it cruises through shoals of krill with its mouth wide. What’s unique to this shark, is its ability to push out its jaw and suck prey inside. There are 50 rows of tiny hooked teeth on each jaw, though it only uses the first 3 rows. The inside of the mouth is covered with light-producing organs called photophores that are believed to attract small prey with their glow; this is a useful tool to possess down in the Abyssopelagic Zone, where there is no penetration of natural light from above. Despite being among the largest sharks in our seas, the megamouth was not discovered for the first time until 1976, when a U.S. Navy research vessel hauled up an adult male specimen off the coast of Hawaii. The discovery of a shark like this was so unexpected that a new family, genus, and species was created just to classify a fish so strange. Since that day, there have only been around 50 confirmed sightings. This raises the question, what other deep sea giants are out there waiting to be discovered? Watch more Deep Sea Wonders: #1 The Greenland Shark - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeOSlZYdvLY #2 The Coelacanth - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__Woo6L1bl0&t=20s #3 The Oarfish - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Baxnlt61jYc&t=25s #4 The Ocean Sunfish - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-FK1aR1pic&t=34s #5 The Megamouth Shark - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHhhDnksp44 #6 The Giant Squid - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-y0TNNiZOs Footage used: https://youtu.be/bHiL7MPAZ0g https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2GovKQTJ0I https://youtu.be/bSamufOdAYk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8U48NfAEEGQ Music used: Music: Strings Inspiration (No Copyright) - SergePavkinMusic Music Link: https://youtu.be/kr6eqXSocuA Resources: https://www.sharks-world.com/megamouth_shark/
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