What is a Goblin Shark?

What is a Goblin Shark?

While the goblin shark certainly isn’t the most stunning fish, it sure does have its allure with its wavy flaps and eel-like body.

A Goblin Shark is a type of shark named after a goblin in Japanese Folklore due to the stark resemblance between the species and that mythical creature.

Though the goblin shark isn’t endangered, there is still so little that we know about the creature. Due to their solitary lifestyle and habitual depths, it’s rare to even come across one let alone film it.

Therefore, scientists have to rely solely on what has been recorded from face to face encounters. Few video recordings exist of a live goblin shark, and so it’s up to the divers to tell us everything they know about the elusive creature. So what do we know about the goblin shark? While it’s not as much as more show offish fish, the facts about the goblin shark that we do have are quite interesting and serve to drive scientists to study them and find out more.

From what they look like, where they live, and how they interact with other goblin sharks to how they hunt their prey, we certainly have a good start on the life of a goblin shark.

What Does a Goblin Shark Look Like?

The first feature of a goblin shark that you’re sure to notice will be their elongated nose. It’s akin to that of a sword fish as it points out far beyond that of its jaw like a finger. This is the feature that grants the goblin shark its name as it looks like the nose of a goblin in Japanese folklore. The scales on the creature have a pinkish hue with gray tints to it. Whenever it opens its mouth, you’re sure to be met with a row of scraggly, thin white teeth.

Is the goblin shark one of the most stunning fish in the ocean? No, however, it’s an interesting shark that certainly draws the eye whenever you come across it. Though it’s unlikely that you’ll ever stumble across a goblin shark, any pictures will be easy to distinguish. With its black, beady eyes, typical of a shark and its long nose and wiry teeth, the goblin shark will certainly stick out to you.

Where to Find a Goblin Shark

Though the name comes from Japan, the goblin shark can be found all around the world. It’s not as picky as some sharks and will likely be found in the depths surrounding almost every continent. The goblin shark’s favorite hunting spot is deep in the open ocean, typically where they surface light no longer reaches. If you ever stumble across one, you likely won’t see another one nearby for miles, unless it’s a child.

The goblin shark will likely be found within a few miles of the continental shelves near the bottom. They hug the shelves, yet enjoy the open depths where light seldom can be seen. You’re most likely to find them off the coast of Japan as this seems to be where the largest populations are located, but divers in North America can encounter the elusive shark as well.

If you’re specifically searching for the goblin shark, it might pay to bring a radar with you to locate any underwater structures or deep pits. The goblin shark has been most often reported away from any structures other than the shelves. So when the depth drops from a couple hundred meters to thousands, there might be a goblin shark down there somewhere.

That Special Goblin Hunting Technique

This is one of the most interesting bits of information about the goblin shark. Most sharks utilize their speed and superior strength to hunt and take down larger prey. The goblin shark, however, is a rather sluggish fish. To put it plainly, it’s slow and can come across as lazy. It doesn’t have to contend with many predators in its habitats, so strength – when compared to other sharks – isn’t that much of a defining feature.

Without the strength and speed typically found in a shark, it can be quite difficult for a fish to hunt. The goblin shark has a special trick up its sleeve. When the shark gets within snatching distance, right before the fish swims away, the goblin shark can unhinge its jaw and extend it about three feet forward with the help of its fleshy flaps. This enables the goblin shark to catch the prey without having to beat it in a foot race.

This scary, but also exciting method of hunting has enabled the goblin shark to live its life in solitude down in the open ocean without worrying about going hungry. Many sharks have unique methods of hunting, but the goblin shark is one of the strangest. Throwing your jaw out like a fishing line certainly is unique, but quite effective for them.

A Lonely Life at the Bottom

The goblin shark’s years of solitude down in the dark depths of the ocean have made for quite the elusive species. Though there are few videos of the goblin shark for scientists to analyze, the ones that we do have, have been quite useful. Videos of the goblin shark extending its bite to catch its prey have given us more information about what life is like where the sun doesn’t reach.

By staying away from members of even its own species, the goblin shark has helped further the mystic of its presence and placed it alongside the goblins its named after in mythic stories. If you ever come across a goblin shark in nature, be sure to snap a picture as it could be worth quite a lot to the scientific community. These mystic creatures certainly are strange, but also quite fascinating.

From their extending jaws to their long, pointed noses, the goblin shark sure makes an impression. You can find these creatures all across the world as long as you have the equipment and stamina to reach their depths. There’s also quite a bit of luck that goes into finding the species. 

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