A marine survey off the coast of Taitung County, South East Taiwan, by the Taiwan Fisheries Research Institute, brought up five specimens of rare viper shark (or Viper Dogfish, Trigonognathus Kabeyai) from a depth of around 350 metres.
One of the fish survived, and marine biologists attempted to keep the shark alive using 10 degree centigrade cold water, but it sadly only survived for one day.
The species has only ever been found on the coasts of Japan, Hawaii and Taiwan in the Pacific, and was first described by Fumio Oe and Kenji Mochizuki in the Japanese Journal of Ichthyology.
Picture: Japanese Journal of Ichthyology
The sharks, which have light-emitting spots on their undersides, were named after their extending jaws which jump from their mouths.
This latter trait isn’t actually that rare – even Great White Sharks famously have jaws that leap from their mouths.
Picture: Taiwan Fisheries Research Institute
When viper sharks feed, they do so on crustaceans and by impaling fish with their lunging teeth, before swallowing the food whole.
This information has prompted comparisons to the Alien of Ridley Scott’s films, as followers of shark news to ask why biologists attempted to keep one alive.
Honestly, the fear is slightly strange – you’re unlikely to ever be alive 300m deep in the Pacific ocean, anyway.