Chris Weiss's Blog

Some Sharks Are Invisible


created at: 2010/05/27

Prior to my piece about surviving mountain lion attacks, I had done some pondering about mountain lions and their larger counterparts. I came to the not-so-difficult realization that these predators have been given an undue amount of natural selection. Sharks, kind of the lions of the sea, enjoy a similar list of natural endowments--thousands of razor sharp teeth, keen sensory abilities and the ability to see in the dark help deliver dinner to your average shark. And when it comes to certain prey--say my hairy leg--being able to swim nimbly serves as another big advantage.

Now, science has uncovered one more shark tool: invisibility. According to a new study published in the Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, certain sharks have the ability to emit light from their bodies in order to match the luminosity of the water above and mask themselves to prey below, letting them sneak up undetected. So that old cliche about the triangular shark fin approaching to the tune of Jaws music may look more like nothing at all.

Oh, and apparently the trait makes members of the opposite shark sex horny too. Good news for the 50 shark species that researchers say possess it.

Via Discovery

Photo: Stormy Dog

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