All About Japan

Beware of Ninja Shark!

| Ninja , Animals

The many species of lanternsharks are known as karasuzame in Japanese, which translates to "crow sharks." Although they seem contradictory, both names are appropriate. "Lanternshark" refers to the animals’ ability to illuminate itself in the deep waters where they reside. So why then are they also called crow sharks?

Despite their glowing ability, these creatures also tend to be jet black, hence the name"crow shark." This newly-discovered species of lanternshark, endearingly called the "ninja lanternshark" by a group of kids aged 8 to 14, was found by chance off the Pacific Coast of Central America and determined to be a new species by the team of Victoria Vásquez, David Ebert and Douglas Long. Vásquez also mentioned that a video of the naming process is coming soon to the Pacific Shark Research Center website.

Combined with such a moniker the beast looks rather intimidating. But the ones discovered so far are only up to 50 centimeters (20 inches) in length.

Also, in another move of playful naming, this shark’s scientific name is etmopterus benchleyi. Literary types might recognize the similarity to Peter Benchley, author of Jaws. The name was chosen for the late writer’s significant post-Jaws efforts and contributions towards shark conservation. So, in a tip of the hat to both Benchley and the ninja lanternshark, the team made up this poorly scaled parody promotional poster.

If you would like to learn more about the discovery of the ninja lanternshark, research team member Dr. Douglas Long wrote an entertaining and detailed account on Deep Sea News.

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