Rare frilled shark with unusual teeth and ‘snake-like’ head 2017-11-14

Sink your teeth into this.

A little-known frilled shark has been found off the Algarve coast in Portugal by scientists, who were conducting research on minimising unwanted catches in European fisheries.

It’s a rare discovery given the depths in which the shark Chlamydoselachus anguineus is found, living 500 to 1,000 metres below the sea. In this case, the shark was caught at a depth of 700 metres.

Researchers from Portugal’s national meteorological, seismic, sea and atmospheric organisation, IPMA, said it was a “true living fossil,” because its remains had been unchanged for 80 million years, according to BBC News’ translation of a Sic Noticias report.

The male fish measures about 1.5 metres long, and has a “long, slender body and a snake-like head.” It also has a rather unique teeth arrangement, but there’s little else known about the shark’s biology or ecology. 

However, the shark gets its name from the frilled appearance of its gills. Its 300 teeth “allows it to trap squid, fish and other sharks in sudden lunges,” Professor Margarida Castro of the University of the Algarve told Sic Noticias.

It has a “wide but very patchy” distribution across the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, according to the IUCN, and is on rare occasion caught as bycatch. A freaky catch in this case, to say the least. 

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