One of my favorite things about sharks is simply how many different kinds there are, and how vastly unique one species can be from another. One of the first sharks to come to mind when I think about “weird sharks” would have to be none other than the goblin shark. I’ve enjoyed learning what little snippets I could about these elusive buggers for some time now, so I was looking forward to having this excuse to research them some more. So, that said, let’s get into the fun and talk about these interesting sharks!
Despite their ghoulish name (and appearance), Goblin sharks are of the “pretty in pink” variety, ranging in color schemes from a lighter greyish pink to a strikingly vibrant dark pink as they get older. Their unique color is due to their skin being ghostly translucent due to lack of pigment, so the pink you’re seeing is actually from the shark’s blood vessels showing just beneath the skin.
If you think the goblin shark looks frightful at a glance, you should see it in action when its hungry! Utilizing a feeding method known as “slingshot feeding”, the goblin shark launches its whole friggin’ mouth forward to snatch up prey in what I can only compare to the chestburster scene in the movie Alien.
Similarly to great white sharks, goblin sharks do not do well in captivity, and the few times they have been kept in aquariums they have died shortly after arrival. 😦 This, combined with the rarity of sightings of living specimens, makes them pretty mysterious to scientists.
Despite being rarely seen by humans, goblin sharks are found in oceanic waters all around the world, but most sightings and captures have occurred off the coasts of Japan, making it little surprise that the very first specimen was discovered there in 1898. (Imagine being the first person to find such an unusual-looking shark!)