Ghostly-looking, pure white version of the ocean's deadliest predator washes up in Australia.
It seems like there's a lot of strange things washing up on Australian beaches these days. But a recent find may top them all.
Someone found a pure white shark washed up on the beach. But it isn't just any shark, it's a pure white great white. Luke Anslow uploaded some of the initial photos of the strange find to Facebook January 18. "Beached itself in the shallows in Port Hacking," Anslow wrote. "Not something you see every day. Albino White."
Biologists weren't quite sure what kind of shark it was originally and while they suspected it could also be a mako or porbeagle, shark biologist Alison Kock believes it is definitely one of the sea's most feared predators, a great white.
"It is not a salmon shark," Kock told Earth Touch News Network. "They are found only in the Northern Hemisphere. So that leaves white shark pup, or a juvenile mako or porbeagle."
Another shark biologist, John Chrisholm of the Massachusetts Shark Research Program also saw the photos online and due to a subtle feature on its tail, believes it is definitely a white shark. "From the pictures I've seen online I'm confident it's a white shark, but I understand the confusion," Chrisholm said.
The initial confusion over the shark's true identity was due to the fact that porbeagle sharks are similar in appearance to a young great white.
While it is a great white, it is not a true albino as Anslow originally thought. Because the shark has normal black eyes, it is actually leucistic. Leucism is very similar to albinism in that it results in loss of pigmentation in skin, hair, feathers or scales, but it does not affect the eyes.
If it had been a true albino, it would have had red or purple eyes. Imagine how much creepier that would have made the ocean's deadliest predator!
Local fisheries biologists ended up taking the body of the shark with them to study further. Even if it isn't an albino, it's still an exceedingly rare find. How many photos of pure white sharks have you seen?