Rare footage has emerged of the megamouth, one of the most elusive members of the shark family. The video was shot by a diver who was exploring the islands of Gili Lawa Laut, off the coast of Indonesia’s Komodo Island. In the short clip, the megamouth shark glides past, showing its unmistakable mouth, before cruising off into the blue.
There have been just over 60 sightings of the shark in the past four decades, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature, IUCN, puts the number of observations at 102. Either way, sightings of the megamouth are rare—by any standards. It’s also a very unique animal: After scientists discovered the first specimen in 1976, off the coast of Hawaii, they decided an entirely new genus had to be created.
The “muppet-like” megamouth, which is believed to grow to around 17 feet long, is no fearsome predator. Their “mega” mouths are used to filter water for plankton and jellyfish. The sharks have been observed both near the surface and up to a mile down. Many have been spotted near Japan and Taiwan, but they have also been spotted in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans.
Read more here.