In December 2015, scientists discovered a new species of shark. Officially named Ninja Lanternshark, because it glows in the dark. It was discovered by a team at the Pacific Shark Research Center, in Moss Landing, California. Named after Peter Benchley, the author of “Jaws”, its scientific name is Etmopterus benchley. The new species is a member of Etmopterus, a genus of sharks in the family Etmopteridae. The ninja lanternshark is the first lanternshark to be found in the waters off of Central America.
It belongs to kingdom Animalia. The species was described from eight specimens collected, during an expedition of the Spanish research ship Miguel Oliver by D. Ross Robertson, a researcher at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. It is the strangest looking shark discovered so far. Its black skin keeps it hidden in deep sea waters but it also glows in the dark. It lives at depths ranging between 2,700 and 4,700 feet (836 -1,443 m) off the Pacific Coast of Central America. Its dark black color resembles the outfit of Japanese ninjas and helps keeping a stealthy behavior in preying.
On average, the Ninja Lanternshark is about 20.3 inches (51.5 cm) long which puts it in medium sized family of sharks. The Ninja Lanternshark is therefore about one tenth of the size of the famous great white shark. Like other lanternsharks, it has a number of bioluminescent (light-emitting) organs called photophores which have special cells that allows it to glow shining pale green in the dark. This adaptation may be used to attract mates, communicate and maintain group cohesion in a school or lure smaller invertebrates within snapping range of their mouth.