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Fish #12 Great Lanternshark Etmopterus princeps ~ Siani Turner
Watercolour 21 x 29 cm
On hearing the word shark, the great lantern shark is probably not what you would picture. At an average of 89cm long, this inhabitant of the ocean depths (typically within depths of 350 to 2,213m ) is stout with a brown/black colouring and has tiny light producing organs down each side of its body. This was originally thought to be just to aid its camoflage from its many predators, although scientists now believe this is also a way for the sharks to communicate with each other. The great lantern shark also has very large and sensitive eyes which are useful for finding its way around the dark depths.
Like many other deepwater shark species, the biology of the great lanternshark is unclear and owes to more research, however, examinations of the stomach contents of trawled catches indicate that it mainly feeds on fish, cephalopods and crustaceans. As not much is known about the great lantern shark, the conservation status is currently at dd (data deficient), this means that scientists would like to know more about the species as there are many details about this little bottom dwelling shark which are still unknown.
The main threat to the great lantern shark is that they tend to be a bycatch of deepwater trawler fishing. Exactly how many lanternshark this affects however is unknown due to poor record keeping by fisheries and an overall lack of information on the species.
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