Friday, August 16, 2013

Surprise! Arctic Shark Caught in Gulf of Mexico by Florida State University Researchers

The Miami Herald has a report of a Greenland shark being caught in the Gulf of Mexico.

According to the report, researchers with Florida State University were conducting a deep sea marine life study to check animals for toxin levels related to the 2010 BP oil spill when they ended up catching the Arctic shark on a baited line at a depth of 6,000 feet.

The shark is native to the waters of Greenland, Iceland and the North Atlantic Ocean.  They are known to travel south of these waters on occasion but it is unknown just how far.

The Greenland shark is the largest member of the dogfish family and can grow to over 20 feet in length and 2,000 lbs.  The shark tends to roam in deep water environments preferring cold water temperatures between 33F-50F.  As water temperatures drop during winter months they will move up to warmer, shallower waters.

The feeding habits of the Greenland shark are varied.  They are considered to be one of the slowest moving shark species and therefore are adept at being ambush predators.  Fish make up the majority of their diet but they will also consume large sea mammals such as seals.  Due to the shark's slow speed, it is thought that they may catch seals when the seals are sleeping.  Greenland sharks have also been found with pieces of horses, polar bears and even a full reindeer in its stomach.

Read more about the Greenland shark catch in the Gulf of Mexico at the Miami Herald.
Photo credit: Doug Perrine/SeaPics.com

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