For as much ocean exploring as researchers have done over the past several decades, the majority of animals that exist within those bodies of water largely remain a mystery.
Sometimes you just have to expect the unexpected when you’re out on the ocean, and that’s makes exploration so much fun. There’s no telling what kind of sea creature you might reel in on any given fishing trip!
Just ask Jaime Rendon, who, while on a recent fishing trip near the Los Cabos coast of Mexico, reeled in an “alien fish.” See the rare species he caught on the water that day…
Jaime Rendon and a group of fishermen were enjoying a nice day out on the Pisces Sportfishing Fleet a mile out near the Los Cabos coast of Mexico when their trip suddenly took an unexpected turn. He felt a strong tug on his line, so he began to reel in whatever creature was on the other end of the pole…
When Jaime eventually pulled the sea creature on board, the other fishermen immediately claimed it appeared to be an alien fish, with its white, smooth and puffy body. In all their years out on the water, they’d never encountered anything quite like it before.
It was perhaps, the animal’s pale skin that most baffled the group of fishermen, though, they were equally as put off by its eyes. “I was really surprised but what caused most impact were the eyes, so strange,” Jaime said in an interview. When they took a closer look at the “rare species,” they realized what they’d caught…
It turns out that the animal Jaime and his pals captured just a mile out on the water that day wasn’t a rare species. It was a shark that very likely had leucism, a condition that results in major loss of skin pigmentation.
That’s when representatives of the Pices Sportsfishing Fleet reached out to the Pacific Shark Research Center and sent them pictures in hopes of identifying the species. When the results returned, they revealed the creature to be a swell shark.
Swell sharks are noted by researchers for their distinctive bloated bellies. When they sense they are threatened by a predator, they swallow large amounts of water, swelling a sack beneath their stomach, making it harder for them to fit in a predator’s mouth.
Swell sharks can be found off the coast of southern California down into Mexico.
“This particular swell shark is cool to see, but with a lot of species, leucism and albinism are anomalous. In the bigger scheme of things, this discovery highlights a species that tends to be overlooked and not thought about often. Events like this encourage people to think about sharks that might not be on their radar, so I embrace them whenever they come up,” director of the Pacific Shark Research Center Dr. David Ebert said in an interview.
After Jaime and his fishing pals took a good look at the swell shark they’d caught, they quickly released it back into the wild.
It’s amazing to think that there are still so many rare species of sea creatures in the oceans. It makes you wonder what else is lurking beneath the surface.
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