The goblin shark looks harsh in its appearance. It has a flabby body and soft skin, which is pinkish grey in color. The shark’s bodily features contribute to its sluggishness. However, the extendible jaws of the shark — the trademark feature of this shark — helps overcome this, making it the fastest hunter out there.
The goblin shark can reach up to 10.5 feet (3.2 meters) in length, in deep water. The shark is able to flex its jaws, at incredible speed, to catch its prey even if it can’t swim fast enough to hunt it. The shark is like a human that extends the hook to catch its bait.
The shark’s ability to catch its prey has intrigued many. Hence, a research team, led by a Japanese Professor, Kazuhiro Nakaya from the University of Hokkaido University, spent time studying rare footage shot of two sharks, capturing their prey five times on separate occasions in its natural habitat. The shot that was studied was captured by the Japanese broadcast company, NHK.
How does the shark hunt? Nakaya explained, the signature move of the shark by breaking it down into four stages:
The shark is on standby.
The shark roams around at its slow pace with its mouth slightly open, waiting to detect its next prey. The shark’s small eyes that can spot the slightest flicker, and the extremely elongated, but flattened snout of the shark, sprinkled with electro sensitive sensors, help the shark know if there is food nearby.
The shark says AHHH!
The shark is ready to go; now that it has found its prey. It opens its jaw slightly, about 111 degrees and elevates it heads.
The Shark takes a bite.
The shark is no longer on standby. This is where its jaws come out at an increased speed of 3.1 meters per second; a speed incomparable to any other shark in the sea.
In this extended position, the jaws make up 9.4% of the shark’s entire body length, once again making the shark different from other sharks.
The shark takes another bite, in case.
The shark hasn’t had enough, it re-opens and re-closes its mouth. There is no scientific explanation for this act, but some theorize it as the shark’s way of assuring itself that the prey will not get away.
This action adds to the uniqueness of the shark as no other shark, in history, has ever gone for another bite.
A lot is still unknown about the goblin shark especially because less than 50 goblin sharks have been found in the last 118 years on the seafloor. However, we hope to learn more about this special specimen as technology develops and as more of them surface.