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Discovery: A new shark that’s a real ninja

The recently discovered ninja lanternshark can cloak itself by giving off a bluish light that effectively renders it invisible. (D. Ross Robertson/Douglas J. Long)

There’s a new shark on the block, and it's really making waves. It's inky-black to camouflage it in the depths of the sea, but it’s also covered in photophores - tiny dots that emit light, cloaking it in a bluish glow that make it invisible to prey or predators.

The ninja lanternshark

(Douglas J. Long/Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation)

The 30-50 centimetre shark was named the ninja lanternshark (scientific name etmopterus benchleyi) by shark-discovery scientist Vicky Vasquez’s four young cousins “because it’s good at being stealthy.”

The first specimen of this new shark was picked up in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Central America back in 2010. Since then, seven more of the sharks have been found off Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua at depths ranging from 836 metres to about 1.4 kilometres below the ocean’s surface.

Ninja lanternshark teeth

The ninja lanternshark has between 30 and 36 teeth on its lower jaw. (Douglas J. Long/Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation)

Other species of lanternshark exist in most of the world’s warm waters but this is the first species to be found of the coast of Central America.

(With content from CBC News)