New shark species discovered in Gulf of Mexico

16:11 July 22, 2019
By: Sam Lucio

According to a report from the Associated Press, a new species of shark has recently been discovered in the Gulf of Mexico. The new shark species scientific name is Mollisquama (mah-lihs-KWAH-muh) mississippiensis (MISS-ih-sip-ee-EHN-sis) or rather being dubbed the "American pocket shark" due to its small stature.

The new American pocket shark is also being characterized by a unique body function, pouches near its front fins. These pouches shoot out a luminous liquid that is believed to help the American pocket shark escape predators. So far, the American pocket shark is only the third of more than 500 shark species that squirt out a luminous liquid, according to R. Dean Grubbs, a Florida State University scientist.

The shark was first discovered by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ichthyologist Mark Grace in 2010 while trying to find out what Gulf of Mexico sperm whales eat.

Grace, who is based in Pascagoula, Mississippi, said he spent three years trying to identify all the specimens he collected during that trip and that the pocket shark was in the last bag he opened and still had an umbilical scar.

Grace also mentioned that the identification of the new shark was a collaborative effort which included Tulane University, scientists at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and the University of Florida's Florida Museum of Natural History.

Grace went on to say that collaborating with other scientists throughout this process was the most exciting thing for hime.

"I don't get over it," he said. "I just remind myself this is one of the great parts of science, to have collaborations like that."

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