Deep Sea Fisherman Posts Photo of Terrifying Shark: ‘Stuff of Nightmares’

by Lauren Boisvert

A deep sea fisherman recently hauled a shark up from over 2,000 feet below the surface, and the internet was whipped up into a frenzy about it. According to one commenter on the Facebook post, it’s the “stuff of nightmares.”

Sydney, Australia angler Trapman Bermagui posted a photo of his deep sea catch on Monday, and the comments rolled in. “The deep sea is another planet,” one Facebook user wrote. Another commented, “Only [a] mother could love that.” The creature is sufficiently bug-eyed, with a strange, protruding jaw. The deep sea is truly another planet if there are things like this living there.

According to experts, though, Bermagui’s catch isn’t an alien at all, but a rare kind of shark. There’s a possibility that it’s a rare roughskin dogfish shark, according to Florida State University’s Coastal and Marine Laboratory research director Dean Grubbs.

“In my deep-sea research, we have caught quite a few of them in the Gulf of Mexico and in the Bahamas,” Grubbs told Newsweek. “They are in the family Somniosidae, the sleeper sharks, the same family of the Greenland shark, but obviously a much smaller species.”

Grubbs added that the roughskin dogfish shark is usually common between 2,400 and 3,800 feet below the surface. According to Bermagui, they’re pretty common in Australia’s waters as well.

“We catch them in the wintertime usually,” he said. Though, there is some debate among shark experts as to what this thing really is. The director of California State University at Long Beach’s Shark Lab, Christopher Lowe, said that it looks more like a deep-water kitefin shark, common in Australia. Though, he added, “we discover new species of deep-water shark all the time, and many look very similar to each other.”

Scientists Have Finally Figured Out Why Basking Sharks Swim in Circles

One of the stranger things that basking sharks do is swim around each other in huge groups, creating almost a cyclone. This behavior has baffled scientists and experts for a long time, but they finally figured it out. Apparently, it’s an intricate mating ritual between the male and female sharks. Here’s how it works.

Basking sharks are usually solitary, but they come together during mating season and create these cyclones from just below the surface to about 52 feet down. This is called a torus, which is a shape made when a circle revolves in three-dimensional space. It’s basically a donut shape. Scientists at the Marine Biological Association (MBA) and the Irish Basking Shark Group studied 19 groups off the coast of County Clare, Ireland from 2016 to 2021. They recently published a scientific paper with their findings.

“How usually solitary basking sharks find a mate in the ocean’s expanse has been an enduring mystery,” said lead researcher David Sims in a statement. “Incredibly we now find that a courtship torus not only forms but acts like a slow motion ‘speed-dating’ event for assessing lots of potential mates in one go.”

The shark toruses include an equal number of males and females, so no one goes without a date. They circle each other, touching fins and bodies, kind of like testing compatibility. All in all, love them or fear them, sharks are truly complex, marvelous creatures.