Trapman Bermagui, a fisherman from New South Wales, captured the shark in deep seas off the coast. A fisherman off the coast of Australia was taken aback when he hauled a shark out of the water and spotted its protruding eyes and human-like grin. Trapman Bermagui, a deep-sea angler, posted a photo of the terrifying beast on Facebook, identifying it as a “deep sea rough skin shark” caught 650 meters (2,132 ft) below the water’s surface.
The shot clearly depicts the shark’s sandpaper-like skin and two large blue-green eyes bursting from its skull. The shark’s razor-sharp teeth appear to adopt the same loose form as a human smile, protruding at an angle under the top lip. Some reviewers described the shark’s looks as “evil,” while others joked that it appeared to be sporting artificial teeth. The shark’s species was debated in the comments area, with some people believing it was a form of goblin shark and others saying it looked more like a cookiecutter shark.
Bermagui, on the other hand, was not convinced. The fisherman told Newsweek, “I’m not a cookie cutter.” “It’s a rough-skinned shark, also known as an effort dog shark.” These sharks may be found at depths of more than 600 meters. We normally capture them in the winter.” According to Dean Grubbs, associate director of research at Florida State University’s Coastal and Marine Laboratory, the shark’s species may be Centroscymnus owstoni, also known as a roughskin dogfish, a type of gulper shark.
“We captured quite a number of them in my deep-sea studies in the Gulf of Mexico and the Bahamas,” he added. “Ours came from depths ranging from 740 to 1160 meters (2,400 to 3,800 feet),” according to the paper. Christopher Lowe, professor and head of the California State University, Long Beach Shark Lab, proposed an alternative idea. “Looks to me like a deepwater kitefin shark, which is common in Australian seas,” he added. “It appears to be Dalatias lata to me.” Lowe also admitted that the catch may be a whole new species of shark that biologists have never seen before.
“We uncover new deeper shark species all the time, and many of them look remarkably similar,” he added. Brit Finucci, a fisheries scientist at New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research who specializes in deep-sea sharks, told Live Science, “It’s a gulper shark.” “In the past, gulper sharks were targeted by fisheries in New South Wales for their liver oil,” Finucci explained. She explained that gulper sharks are “very sensitive to overexploitation from fishing” and “some species are now highly threatened and protected in Australia.” Finucci’s conclusion was additionally backed up by Charlie Huveneers, a shark scientist at Flinders University in Australia, who also felt that Bermagui’s shark was likely some species of gulper. Whatever the case may be, one commenter on Bermagui’s post put it best, writing, “The deep sea is another planet down there.” And that “other planet” is filled with unique and terrifying creatures.