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In this Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016, photo, the fin of a great white shark is seen swimming a past research boat in the waters off Gansbaai, South Afric. Extensive research by shark expert Michael Rutzen and his marine biologist partner, Sara Andreotti, has found that great whites off the South African coast are rapidly heading for extinction. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)

Scientists captured video of the mysterious ghost shark for the first time


Scientists believe they have captured video of a species of ghost shark, the pointy-nosed blue chimaera, which had never been filmed live before. 

Ghost sharks typically dwell in the depths of the ocean around Australia, New Zealand, and New Caledonia. 

However, a newly-released video that was taken in 2009 by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and a paper by researcher Lonny Lundsten show the ghost shark on the seafloor near the Hawaiian Islands and off the coast of California.

The pointy-nosed blue ratfish Hydrolagus trolli

Researchers captured the video by sending an ROV, or remotely operated vehicle, on dives at depths of up to 6,700 feet. 

The ROVs captured footage of what scientists say appears to be a ghost shark that were previously only caught in the waters of the southwestern Pacific. 

In his paper, Lundsten notes that he consulted three different chimaera experts who all said they believed the fish was a “pointy-nosed blue chimaera." 

However, in the paper, researchers only refer to the fish as Hydrolagus cf. trolli. The cf indicates that researchers believe the characteristics of the fish match those of the species Hydrolagus trolli, but cannot be 100 percent sure. 

Researchers said they would need to actually collect one of the ghost sharks and bring it back to the surface to positively identify it. 

"This is much easier said than done, because these fish are generally too large, fast, and agile to be caught by MBARI’s ROVs," the institute noted.  "If and when the researchers can get their hands on one of these fish, they will be able to make detailed measurements of its fins and other body parts and perform DNA analysis on its tissue."

Similar, but also unidentified, ghost sharks have been spotted off the coasts of South America and southern Africa as well. 

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