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10 odd sharks in the world.

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This article is about the odd sharks in the world.Does the phrase “shark” make you conjure up a picture of an animatronic Jaws, rolling its lifeless eyes and gnashing its horrible teeth? Although this picture of a great white shark is well-known, sharks are far more complex creatures. The shark world is whole with big-eyed beauties, teeny-tiny cuties, and a handful of species that could haunt your dreams (you’ll be delighted to learn that the one with rotary-saw teeth died extinct long ago). Really, they’re a group of loving weirdos. Here are the oddest sharks to swim in the oceans.

10. Ghost sharks

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This pointy-nosed blue chimaera was record by MBARI’s remotely operated vehicle Tiburon near the summit of Davidson Seamount, off the coast of Central California at a depth of about 1 mile (1,640 meters). (Image credit: Copyright 2007 MBARI)

Gliding in the dark water nearly a mile (1,640 m) deep, pointy-nosed blue ratfish (Hydrolagus trolli) seems like odd, quiet phantoms. For that reason, these elusive sharks have frequently been nicknamed “ghost sharks.”

Ghost sharks were not correctly recognized until 2002 when researchers categorized and named the species based on several dozen corpses unintentionally hauled in by fishing trawlers. Between 2000 and 2007, another group of scientists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) in California shot a series of movies off the Central California coast displaying live species.

Rounding off this species,” oddity is the spiky, club-like organ on the top of males’ skulls. Lonny Lundsten, a senior research technician at MBARI, says that this organ is utilized to orient the female throughout the copulation process.

9. Cyclops dusky shark

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A fetal shark cut from the belly of a pregnant shark caught in the Gulf of California. The shark, which would likely not have survived outside the womb, had only one eye. (Image credit: Pisces Fleet Sportfishing)

In 2011, a professional fisherman rescued a dusky shark (Carcharhinus obscurus) from the seas of the Gulf of California. The shark was pregnant, but when the fishermen checked her, they discovered that one of her babies was exceedingly unusual: It was an albino, and it also had only one eye – right dab in the center of its nose, like a cyclops.

A working optical tissue was detected in the eye of the shark fetus. However, the shark would have perished if it had been inspected outside the womb. Cyclopia is a developmental disorder that occurs in a variety of animals, including humans. It is generally coupled with several additional anomalies and is often deadly very soon after birth.

8. Genie’s dogfish sharks

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Genie’s dogfish have large blue eyes like anime characters. (Image credit: MarAlliance)

On the topic of eyes, Genie’s dogfish sharks have some major peepers. These sharks (Squalus Clarke) are deep-water species in the Gulf of Mexico and western Atlantic. Their diminutive stature (20 to 28 inches long, or 50 to 70 cm) and prominent baby blues appear like cute anime characters.

The shark species was identified and officially described in 2018.

7. Swell sharks

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Swell sharks. (Image credit: Douglas Klug via Getty Images)

Even sharks need to escape predators. Swell sharks, who spend their days lurking in rocky crevices, have discovered an intelligent technique to beat would-be predators: They gulp in a vast quantity of saltwater to swell to double their regular size.

Swell sharks dwell all over the place, from the coast of California to the seas near the Philippines. Their swelling technique may terrify predators if they’re out at night on the hunt. During the day, the sharks can swell enough to lodge themselves within their rocky hiding locations, preventing predators from dragging them out.

6. Velvet belly lanternsharks

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Velvet belly lanternsharks

Velvet belly lanternsharks (Etmopterus spinax), which are dogfish sharks found deep in the Atlantic and Mediterranean, have come up with another strategy to prevent being eaten: They place a giant, luminous sign on themselves warning, “Danger, spikes on shark are pointier than they may look.”

Bigger fish may take advantage of their small size, making them easy prey for more giant sharks. Their light-up spines presumably warn hungry hunters that they are a problematic mouthful to chew.

5. Phoebodus sharks

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Palaeontologists discovered this nearly complete skeleton of an ancient shark belonging to the genus Phoebodus. (Image credit: Linda Frey and Christian Klug, Paläontologisches Institut und Museum, University of Zurich)

Phoebodus sharks were a weird lot. They sailed the waters approximately 350 million years ago and grew to 4 feet (1.2 m) long. The oldest shark scales ever discovered date back to 450 million years ago. The first shark teeth to approximately 410 million years ago, thus Phoebodus sharks were relatively early on the shark scene, evolutionarily speaking. They possessed three-cusped teeth, eel-like bodies, and long snouts and may have looked a little like present frilled sharks.

Much of these sharks’ biology is known from an almost-complete fossil recovered in Morocco. Their meal may have been snatched from the water by a rapid, lethal bite from them.

4. Ninja lanternsharks

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A “Jaws” inspired view of a ninja lanternshark. (Image credit: Vásquez V.E. et al. Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation. 2015.)

Credit for these stealthy sharks’ popular name belongs to a pair of 8-year-olds, relatives of the scientist who discovered the critter. According to Hakai Magazine, researcher Vicky Vásquez coined the term ninja laternshark because her young relatives stated that the sharks’ sleek black skin and delicate bioluminescence are utilized to blend in. With sunlight trickling down from the ocean surface — it reminded them of a “super ninja.”

These snazzy-looking sharks have a fun scientific name, too: Etmopterus Benchley, after Peter Benchley, the author of the novel “Jaws” (Doubleday: 1974). (Doubleday: 1974).

The ninja laternshark is a little fish, reaching a maximum length of approximately 0.5 meters. They reside off the coast of Central America.

3. Wobbegong sharks

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(GERMANY OUT) Tasselled Wobbegong, Eucrossorhinchus dasypogon, Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia (Photo by Reinhard Dirscherl/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

What do you get when you cross a fish with a 1970s area rug? A wobbegong shark, most likely. These bottom dwellers from the family Orectolobidae are camouflaged with splotchy orange-ish markings. The sensory lobes that border the sharks’ jaws are like a “frill” to them.

There are a dozen wobbegong sharks, ranging over the eastern Indian Ocean and the western Pacific Ocean. The biggest grow to more than 10 feet (3 m) long. “Wobbegong” means “shaggy beard” in an Indigenous Australian language.

2. Eagle sharks

Sharks used to be considerably stranger. Ninety-three million years ago, in Mexico, eagle sharks (Aquilolamna milarcae) sailed across the water on fins like wings. And what wings they were: The sharks’ fins spanned 6 feet 2 inches (1.9 m) across, making the creatures broader than they were long since they were 5 feet 5 inches (1.65 m) in length.

Though these sharks’ teeth did not survive fossilization, its discoverers think they were filter feeders like current whale sharks.

2. Eagle sharks

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Eagle sharks (Image credit: Oscar Sanisidro)

Sharks used to be considerably stranger. Ninety-three million years ago, in Mexico, eagle sharks (Aquilolamna milarcae) sailed across the water on fins like wings. And what wings they were: The sharks‘ fins spanned 6 feet 2 inches (1.9 m) across, making the creatures broader than they were long since they were 5 feet 5 inches (1.65 m) in length.

Though these sharks’ teeth did not survive fossilization, its discoverers think they were filter feeders like current whale sharks.

1. Helicoprion sharks

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Helicoprion prehistoric fish, illustration – stock illustration (Image Credit: Getty Images)

These animals’ unusual buzzsaw-jaws are so mind-boggling that it took experts more than a century to find out what the heck was going on with Helicoprion. The jaws, which seem more like spiral snail shells than anything shark-related, were initially uncovered in the Ural Mountains in the late 1800s and belonged to an extinct species that existed roughly 270 million years ago. According to Wired, a geologist identified the whorl as teeth and dubbed the critters that wore them Helicoprion in 1899. But no one could figure out how a shark could fit such a weird saw of teeth into its mouth. Did the saw potentially work in the shark’s throat? Was it tied to some type of extended mouth tentacle that shot out when the animal was attacking?

It wasn’t until 2014 that scientists figured it out, based on a specimen recovered in Idaho that had pieces of the upper jaw intact. According to National Geographic, it turns out that the whorl of teeth fit inside the sharks’ lower jaw. The sharks, which reached 25 feet (7.6 m) long, had no top teeth interfering with the buzzsaw arrangement.

The research that nailed down the sharks’ saw-tooth structure also concluded that Helicoprion was likely not technically sharks, but near shark, cousins called ratfish. But with teeth like those, we’re going to let them slip into this ranking regardless.

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