You’ve joined me on a few different shark journeys by now, Outsiders. Remember that Angel Shark that’s more of a ninja than an actual shark? Or that massive almost 12-footer hammerhead that a Texas angler wrangled in from the bed of her pickup truck? Well, buckle up for a headline I didn’t even know to be possible, folks. We’ve seen some pretty strange animals, like the biscuit crab, but this combination just might take the cake. You’ll have to see this strange pig-faced shark to really believe it.
Meet the Pig-Faced Shark: The Angular Roughshark
Its body makeup is quite similar to that of its shark friends. Its coloring is a neutral gray and it sports a sharp dorsal fin that cuts through the top of the water and its “Jaws” counterpart would be proud of. Even a side-view elicits familiarity. Coming in at an average length of about 3.3 feet, it might not look all that special in its natural habitat. That is until you look the monstrosity right in the eyes.
Staring the Angular Roughshark (Oxynotus centrina) in the face, it’s hard to call the “pigfish” especially cute. Yuri Tiberto from Italy’s Elba Aquarium talked to the Italian news channels about its recent discovery near an island off the Mediterranean Sea. Here’s the brief statement: “It is commonly called a ‘pig fish’ because when it comes out of the water it emits a kind of grunt.”
According to the Elba Island app Facebook page, naval officers found the creature in pretty rough shape. Actually, it wasn’t even alive upon its sighting. They hauled its dead body onto the pier as part of an awareness campaign. While the species often calls the Mediterranean area its home and tends to do well in these waters, their build also makes them targets to fishing operations. This comes from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species who also officially classifies the species as “Vulnerable.” The Angular Roughshark population faces rapid decline on its way to an “Endangered” classification.
For now, though, you can find the species throughout the East Atlantic Ocean. It’s been spotted off the European coast as well as the Africa coast so many miles away. Moreover, the “pigfish” thrives in a variety of elevations. Researcher records show their presence at between 200 and 2,200 feet below the ocean’s surface.
Take a minute to meet the beast in this photo album shared from Portoferraio, Italy here:
Live Science also reported on another interesting shark sighting some years ago. This one involved a shark born without skin or teeth, making it the world’s first recorded one of its kind. Found in the same area as the “pigshark” from above, this other creature belonged to the blackmouth catshark species (Galeus melastomus). Despite its genetic deformities, it lived to be 3 years old.