The Ghost Shark (Pointy-nosed blue chimaera) has a lifeless appearance, and black eyes void of light, it is hard to imagine that the organism is a real living animal. However, contrary to the belief toward nature that resides in the ocean, this living zombie is very real and it's not camera shy, either.
What is a Ghost Shark?
Despite the fact that this fish is called the Ghost Shark -- in actuality it's not exactly the same as a shark! This organism is what you would call a Chimaera, relatives to sharks and rays, these elusive #Animals split off during evolution about 300 million years ago.
The Silurian period which goes back about 443 million years predates the dinosaurs, and that's where sharks originated.
Some key things to know about fish is that they come in three different classifications. Agnatha (jawless fish), Chondrichthyes (cartilaginous fish), and lastly Osteichthyes (bony-like fish). Sharks, as well as most of the fish in the ocean, reside in the Chondrichthyes class. Sharks possess soft tissue and a cartilage-based anatomical build which gives them their agile nature in the water.
Chimaeras are also informally known as Rabbitfish, Spookfish, and Ratfish. Ghost Sharks also are cartilaginous fish and are within the Chondrichthyes class. However, when it comes to the subclass, sharks and rays belong to a group called Elasmobranchii. While Chimaera's close relatives are sharks they reside in a different group called Holocephali.
Taxonomy is a large difference between the two and how they are classified.
Ghost Sharks and weird traits
Other characteristics about the Chimaera that are different from sharks is that they don't have rows of teeth like sharks do. Their mouths are similar to that of rays, as they eat mollusks, worms and other bottom-dwellers with smaller forms of tooth plates. They have venom barbs on their fins! as well. Chimaeras have a retractable reproductive organ on their heads.
Where are Ghost Sharks located?
Very little is known about Ghost Sharks ever since they veered off the evolutionary path of their close shark relatives. They all generally live in the deep, thousands of feet below the water. Chimaeras can be found all over the world. Some common species like the pointy-nosed blue Chimaera (Hydrolagus trolli) can be found in the waters of New Zealand and Australia.