Thursday, June 11, 2009

Prickly Shark Story at the Monterey Aquarium

Tuesday night a rare Prickly Shark was captured and held at the Monterey Bay Aquarium ( for a few hours, until 1:30 pm on Wednesday afternoon.

Why, you might ask, did they go to all that trouble to hold the fish for only a few hours?

The Prickly Shark is a denizen of the deep, normally living in the Pacific at depths of 3,000 feet in submarine canyons. It is distinguished from other sharks by its thorny skin, and the characteristic dorsal fin of the shark is broken, so that it seems to be a double dorsal. The second fin is a bit smaller than the forward or first dorsal. And, it's head is smaller than the characteristic Great White or Grey or Tiger Shark, more similar to a Sand Shark or Catfish.

Deep water fish, according to an aquarium spokesman, Ken Peterson, have trouble adapting. I suppose that traffic at 3,000 feet deep is not what it is in Monterey, and it's likely that these creatures are a bit shy and private. We would say that he was quite adaptive at getting his desires across to the staff. -- Who ever said that Sharks were "primitive"?

He flipped upside down and went into what seemed to be an hypnotic state. I had always heard that Sharks needed to keep moving to breath as they didn't have any way to move water across their gills except to keep moving, so this must have put him at risk for suffocation as well. (Fish disassociation?) This was a signal to researchers that he needed to be put back into the wild.

They did tag the Shark with a tag that will register depths, temperature, latitude and longitude for six months before it pops off, and will teach researchers more about this creature without any harm being done.

This Aquarium has a history of quickly releasing captured wildlife back into their natural habitat. They have also held Great White Sharks for six months or less 4 times and successfully returned them to the ocean. Good for them. It's too bad that this can't be done with more wild animals in zoos as well....


Anonymous said...

Rare prickly shark captured 11-06-2009 BBC News, UK A prickly shark has been captured for only the second time ever, in a submarine canyon off the coast of California. Very little is known about the species, which has rough scales on ...
The video from the scene:prickly shark-video-online

Nancy from said...

Thank you, Aser, for posting that video!

- Nancy