Not Going Swimming Soon

on Wednesday, February 28, 2007

On the 21st of January 2007, off the coast of Japan, a strange sea-serpent like creature was spotted by fishermen. They alerted marine biologists who observed the creature and decided that it must be either injured, sick or in some other form of distress as it appeared disorientated. The creature was brought to the Awashima Marine Park in Shizuoka, southwest of Tokyo, and placed in a seawater pool but unfortunately it died within a few hours.

Despite a lot of attention and speculation about the creature in the media, this creature is not unknown to science. It was in fact, a frilled shark, Chlamydoselachus anguineus, is a primitive species, of the family Chlamydoselachidae in the order Hexanchiformes. (Chlamydoselacus = frilled cartilagenous fish; anguineus = eel). This species inhabits the deep waters of the sea along the continental shelf and is a an occasional bycatch of deep sea trawlers. If caught it is either sold as food or processed for fish feed. Its appearace in shallow waters, however, is very rare. It is more ancient than the sharks that most of the public are familiar with. It has 6 gill slits as compared to the more common 5 gill slits.

"Prominently mentioned in books on sea serpents, the frilled shark can easily qualify for this designation. It is certainly serpentlike in appearance; in fact, it looks more like an eel than a a shark. (Its specific name, anguineus, comes from the word for eel.) Where other sharks have plain gill slits, this creature has a collar of frills, and its mouth, instead of being underslung as the mouth of a shark is supposed to be, is terminal. Its teeth are three-pronged (trident-shaped). Surely this must be the archetypal sea serpent, and it would be -- if it ever grew longer than six feet. " (Source: Richard Ellis)

Photo Credits : xoxotyshka
This is a rare opportunity to see this unusual animal alive and swimming albeit for such a short period.
I don't know about you, but I am intrigued and put-off by the animal in equal portions. Although it is not thought to be dangerous to humans, I just know I'd freak out if it was swimming any where near me. You won't see me swimming in the sea anytime soon.


Open Grove Claudia said...

WOW! I wonder if it's as old as bees - probably older. SOOOO cool! Thanks for sharing it.

Why are you petting a boar? Year of the boar?? I just expect you to be petting a squirrel.... but then you might get rabies

squirrel said...

Now that is one scary looking creature!

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Janice Thomson said...

What an interesting post LGS! You always come up with such unique information. Never heard of this shark before. The photos are marvelous and that's just how I want to see a shark. It may be only 6 feet long but it has awfully sharp-looking teeth!

Anonymous said...

I remember when this was in the news a few weeks ago. I also remember shuddering upon seeing the video of this creature.

Josie said...

LGS, that is just about the creepiest thing I have ever seen, and I wouldn't want to swim anywhere near it either. The munchkins were fascinated with it when it was first discovered recently.

Certainly not as cute as squirrels...!


Molly said...

Fearsome looking critter! That'd be enough to make me water shy too...

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I think it's beautiful. I read somewhere today that several new shark species have recently been "discovered."

I would love to swim with it. Even scary monsters need love, you know. :)

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

one day you should explain how you took up beekeeping. Yes, I'm petting a boar cause it is year of the boar. Squirrels seldom stay long enough to be petted besides no year of the squirrel. Clearly a major oversight.

absolutely. squirrels belong in trees not in the water with things like this around.

I can talk science, baby. So, what do you want to talk about?

it is not fierce and is not known to attack humans but yeah, I don't feel the need to get closer either.

so it must have been on the news in USA? I saw it in a newspaper report but with no photos.

If the munchkins liked it than it is officially gross or creepy cause we all know kids love gross and creepy things. I agree with you that it's not as cute as squirrels but then few things are!

fearsome looking but quite harmless, I think.

you have a big heart if you could love this creature.

Becky Wolfe said...

Ah yes. I saw this thing on both CNN and the National Geographic sites last month. Creepy looking indeed but very fascinating.

I always wonder why man is in such a hurry to explore outer space & yet there is so MUCH we don't know about under the sea.

I constantly tell my husband that I hope after Christ comes we will be able to swim & breathe underwater cuz there is a lot I want to explore down there and we'll have eternity to do so!

CSL said...

Cool, what an interesting looking creature. Scary, but also weirdly beautiful. Thanks for posting it, I hadn't heard anything about this picee of news.

Tai said...

Prehistoric creatures are SO interesting.
It's always a thrill to see something that has lasted for so long.

Jocelyn said...

Whoa, this is a seriously gnarly beast. I never visit your blog without learning something.

patterns of ink said...

I think you're right about this being the stuff seafarers' lore from long ago--a sea serpent if I ever saw one. =)
When you think of the vastness of the ocean--there's got to be more down there than we've discovered yet...
I used to do some scuba diving on some ship wrecks up in Georgian Bay, Canada. I did not like coming upon large fish face to face. A fresh-water version of this thing would have made me warm the water if you know what I mean.

Dave said...

Who knows what lies beneath the ocean's surface deep down in the depths of the ocean! This is most certainly a reminder of this thought. Facinating photos as well... I know I wouldn't want to be the one taking them though! :-)

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

you are so right about how we haven't discovered so much about our deep seas, our inner space and yet we are rushing into outer space.

When Christ comes, I hope to be doing some flying but I'll come visit you by the seaside.

our world is full of weird but wonderful. Glad you liked it.

I know what you mean - it feels like a connection to a distant past.

and you always surprise me with your fascinating choice of words. Today's word is "gnarly" which is suitably timeless.

patterns of ink,
I know exactly what you mean. Even normal looking large fish scare me when I am in the water cause its their habitat and I am the intruder.

same sentiments. I too intend to keep to terrestrial photography.

Becky Wolfe said...

*grin* My husband is all for the flying part too - he hopes for that. Yep, I'll be deep sea diving but only AFTER I climb an "Everest Like" mountain (could be the same everest - could be a whole new mountain of similar stature depending on what God decides to build us on the 'new earth')

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