If you can see the sun, you’re unlikely to ever see a ghost shark. That’s because ghost sharks, or chimaeras, are found so deep underwater that the sun’s rays can’t penetrate.
This particular ghost shark, which is a pointy-nosed blue chimaera, was filmed in 2009 in the North Pacific for the first time by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California. The funny thing is, they weren’t even looking for ghost sharks. The institute sent geologists to record several dives using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) in the waters near California and Hawaii. They went as far as 6,700 feet deep and were extremely surprised when they saw what they had filmed.
“Normally, people probably wouldn’t have been looking around in this area, so it’s a little bit of dumb luck,” says Dave Ebert, program director for the Pacific Shark Research Center at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories.
The pointy-nosed blue chimaera had only previously been spotted near Australia and New Zealand, making this the first time one has ever been seen or recorded in the Northern Hemisphere.
As you can see, the ghost shark isn’t scared of the camera at all, it actually seems incredibly intrigued by it, which isn’t normally the case at all for deep sea creatures.
“It’s almost a little comical,” says Ebert. “It would come up and bounce its nose off the lens and swim around and come back.”