Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sharks Can Become Invisible

This has been posted around a bit this morning, but thought I'd throw it out for those who have not see it yet.

In open water, there is often no place to hide. Some sharks have overcome this problem by making themselves invisible to both prey and predators, according to a new study.
Light trickery permits the optical illusion, described in the current issue of the Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 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, "effectively creating a glow from that region," said Claes, a researcher in the Laboratory of Marine Biology, Earth and Life Institute at the Catholic University of Louvain.
 Click here to view a slide show about super shark senses.
That's some scary stuff.  I don't plan to be in those waters anytime soon, but I'd hate to think I'm by myself then all of a sudden have a shark in my face.

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