1. Publication of article on the feeding behavior of the goblin shark Mitsukurina owstoni
Okinawa Churashima Foundation RESEARCH CENTER

Research on marine organisms

Publication of article on the feeding behavior of the goblin shark Mitsukurina owstoni

The goblin shark, Mitsukurina owstoni is one of the deep-sea sharks that inhabit depths 300-1000 meters underwater. The fearful appearance and distinctive features of its protrusible jaws lead it to be widely know as the “goblin shark”.

Because of the difficulty in observing deep-sea organisms, there are many mysteries regarding the species. The use and function of Mitsukurina owstoni’s large and protrusible jaws when catching prey were particularly unclear.

The research group from the Okinawa Churashima Foundation Research Center have collaborated with the Japan Broadcasting Cooperation (NHK) to analyze and reveal the details of the world’s first Mitsukurina owstoni predation footage taken in 2008 and 2011.

The footage has made clear that the Mitsukurina owstoni will rapidly widen its jaws to catch its prey. Its jaw can move at up to three meters per second which makes it the fastest motion among fish. It is also clear the protrusion distance of the jaw is 9% of its total length, which is by far the greatest out of all the shark species. This behavior has been described as “slingshot feeding”. The swimming velocities of Mitsukurina owstoni are thought to be sluggish, therefore a jaw that extends rapidly is perhaps and adaptation to catch food in the deep-sea where prey is scarce. Research reveals many adaptions were made by deep-sea creatures in order to feed and catch their prey.

Authors’ names

Nakaya K, Tomita T, Suda K, Sato K, Ogimoto K, Chappell A, Sato T, Takano K, Yuki Y (Bold letters : Foundation staff member)

Title

Slingshot feeding of the goblin shark Mitsukurina owstoni (Pisces: Lamniformes: Mitsukurinidae)

Journal

Scientific Reports

Article Link

http://www.nature.com/articles/srep27786

Publication of article on the feeding behavior of the goblin shark Mitsukurina owstoni

 

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