In a surprising discovery, scientists have come across a ghost-white shark with a rare condition.
This enigmatic predator was unintentionally caught by fishermen primarily targeting sole fish.
Operating along the coastal region of Los Chimus in Peru, the fishermen promptly reported their extraordinary find to the authorities.
Upon capture, the shark exhibited injuries to its gill slits, likely due to becoming entangled in their nets the previous month.
The marine creature was transported to the Peruvian Institute of the Sea (IMARPE) in Chimbote for further examination.
Upon investigation, scientists determined that the shark suffered from leucism, a condition leading to partial loss of pigmentation. It should be noted that this condition differs from albinism, which results in a complete absence of melanin—a substance responsible for hair, eye, and skin pigmentation. Unlike people with albinism, which often have pink or red eyes, leucism typically results in an animal’s skin turning white while leaving their eye colour unchanged.
IMARPE reported that this represents the first known case of a shark with this condition in Peruvian waters. The discovered specimen was a young female measuring 89cm in length. It’s important to note that sexual maturity in female sharks typically occurs when they reach a length of approximately 220cm.
This particular predatory species occupies a prominent position in the trophic food chain and predominantly preys on other sharks, rays, cetaceans, and sea lions. Broadnose seven-gill sharks are known to collaborate in groups when hunting larger prey. Their seven-gill slits can distinguish them, whereas most shark species possess five.
This discovery sheds new light on the remarkable diversity of marine life in the waters off Peru’s coast.
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