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Invisible Sharks? Well, We’re Boned

By / 05.26.10

They never saw it coming.

Researchers at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium have published a study on sharks capable of making themselves appear invisible using light emitted from their bodies.  Invisible sharks.  Here’s a huge block quote to buy me enough time to remove the bricks from my pants:

The findings represent the first experimental tests of shark luminescence. Lead author Julien Claes explained to Discovery News that about 50 different shark species, or more than 10 percent of all known sharks, are luminous. This means they can produce and emit light from their bodies.  Claes and his colleagues chose to focus on one particular luminous shark, nicknamed “the phantom hunter of the fjords”: the velvet belly lantern shark. This shark’s shimmer originates from light emitting organs called photophores from underneath its body [...] “Since many predators have upward-looking eyes, it is a common method of camouflage in the mesopelagic zone (from 656 to 3,281 feet below the surface), although it is the first time it is demonstrated in sharks,” he added. [Discovery]

A few important things to note:

  • INVISIBLE SHARKS.
  • “The phantom hunter of the fjords” would be an awesome MMA fighter nickname.
  • THERE COULD BE AN INVISIBLE SHARK IN THIS POST AND YOU WOULDN’T EVEN KNOW IT.
  • Some parts of the animal appear brighter close up, including the part of the pelvis where its genitals are, meaning its luminescence may also attract other camouflaged sharks so they can create more baby invisible sharks with extra-glowey crotches.
  • That was probably the strangest sentence I’ve ever typed.
  • We’re going to need a bigger boat to keep out all these invisible sharks with glowing genitals.
  • I’m so scared you guys.

[Thanks to Pauly for the "dapper shark".  Also for the inset picture of a shark with a pipe.]


TAGSBELGIUMHOLY SINVISIBILITYJULIEN CLAESscienceSHARKS

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