2nd 'Pocket Shark' Discovered

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - An extraordinarily rare ocean discovery of an inches-long 'pocket shark' was made.

2nd 'Pocket Shark' Discovered

Sharks come in all shapes and sizes and are best known as a dominant predator in the marine food web. Understanding their movements, behaviors and anatomies gives fishery managers a better idea of their diets and relationships with other species.

A very small and rare species of shark is swimming its way through scientific literature. But don't worry, the chances of this inches-long vertebrate biting through your swimsuit is extremely slim, because if you ever spotted one you'd be the third person to ever do so.

This species common name is the "pocket shark," though those in the field of classifying animals refer to it by its scientific name Mollisquama sp., according to a new study published in the international journal of taxonomy Zootaxa. While it is small enough to, yes, fit in your pocket, it's dubbed "pocket" because of the distinctive orifice behind its pectoral fin--one of many physiological features scientists hope to better understand.

"The pocket shark we found was only 5 and a half inches long, and was a recently born male," said Mark Grace of NOAA Fisheries' Pascagoula, Miss., Laboratory, lead author of the new study, who noted the shark displayed an unhealed umbilical scar. "Discovering him has us thinking about where mom and dad may be, and how they got to the Gulf. The only other known specimen was found very far away, off Peru, 36 years ago."

"This record of such an unusual and extremely rare fish is exciting, but it’s also an important reminder that we still have much to learn about the species that inhabit our oceans," Grace added.

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