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Newly-Discovered Ninja Lanternshark Has Coolest Name Ever

Ninja Lanternshark
Ocean Science Foundation

This stealthy-looking new shark lives at great depths off Central American coast.

A newly-discovered species of deep sea shark is not only awesome-looking, but it has really cool scientific and common names.

Caught in Central American waters in 2010, the Ninja Lanternshark, a new species was in storage for five long years before researcher Victoria Vásquez and other researchers determined it was a new species of bioluminescent shark, a shark common to the deep sea.


“It had photophores (light emitting organs),” the researcher told Huffington Post. The bioluminescent dots allow the foot-long Ninja Lanternshark to hide more easily and sneak up on the animals they prey on. According to Vásquez’s report, the Ninja Lanternshark lives at extreme depths off Central America between around 2,700 and 4,700 feet deep.

So aside from the shark’s characteristics, how did she come up with the name Ninja Lanternshark? That is thanks to Vásquez’s young cousins, whom she asked for help in coming up with a name. Other variations on the name included Super Ninja Shark and Left Shark Lanternshark were also considered. No doubt they would have been just as popular.

In the end, Ninja Lanternshark seemed most appropriate to Vásquez due to the animal’s appearance.

“The common name we have suggested refers to the shark’s color, which is a uniform sleek black as well as the fact that it has fewer photophores than other species of Lanternsharks,” she told the Huffington Post.

It didn’t take long for the story of the new shark to start going viral, no doubt due to the cool name. But the shark’s scientific name has a cool little homage in it, too. Etmoterus benchleyi cleverly honors Peter Benchley. The author wrote the novel “Jaws” in 1974, that was later adapted into the smash hit film by director Steven Spielburg. A fitting homage for someone who made entire generations afraid to go into the water, don’t you think?

Images via Ocean Science Foundation.

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Newly-Discovered Ninja Lanternshark Has Coolest Name Ever