In a new study published in the journal in Frontiers in Marine Science, scientists from the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium) and the National Institute for Water and Atmosphere Research (New Zealand) detail the discovery of three shark species from abyssal regions that shine in the dark.
According to the researchers, the feature guarantees an advantage to both the specimens, which can reach more than 1.80 meters in length.
While several fish use bioluminescence to attract their meals in totally dark places, revealing only tiny parts of their real size, the stars of the analysis reside in an area known as the “twilight zone” of the ocean, which ranges from 200 to 1,000 meters in length. depth, and use their abilities to “disappear”.
Generally, little light penetrates it and there are hardly any hiding places capable of saving them from predators. So thousands of photophores (light-producing cells) do their job.
Located on the skin of sharks, especially on their bellies, they grant them a camouflage, since, when viewed from below, they are confused with the little that arrives from the surface. In short, those who want to hunt them do not see them – nor those they want to hunt.
“Often, [bioluminescence] is seen as a spectacular event, but unusual in the sea. Anyway, considering the vastness of the environment in question and the occurrence of luminous organisms, it is increasingly obvious that the production of light in depth it must play an important role in structuring the largest ecosystem on our planet “, says the team.