What’s That Fish?

This ugly character is a goblin shark. Featured in the USFWS’s Fish of the Week Podcast, the goblin shark is a deepwater species rarely encountered by humans. They exist in the cold darkness of 800- to 3,000-foot depths, where they hunt other weird deep-sea denizens like anglerfish and dragonfish in all the world’s oceans. They grow to 20 feet in length.

According to the Fish of the Week Podcast, goblin sharks hunt with slow steady movements, using their eyes and electroreceptors in their noses to pinpoint prey in the darkness. Once they’ve homed in on a snack, they ease slowly into close range, where their weird underslung mouths come into play.

Ligaments attached to their jawbones are held at constant tension, like a stretched rubber band. When it’s ready to strike, a goblin shark slingshots its entire jaw structure forward with amazing speed to entrap prey in rows of thin, sharp teeth.

For more on this nightmare of the deep, check out the Fish of the Week Podcast at https://www.fws.gov/fish-of-the-week-podcast.

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