A rare frilled shark, whose species dates back 80 million years, was caught in a fishing trawler off Australia’s coast.
“It’s a freaky thing,” Simon Boag, the chief executive officer at South East Trawl Fishing Association, told Australia’s ABC Rural. “I don’t think you would want to show it to little children before they went to bed.”
The association said the frilled shark is often referred to as a “living fossil.” It is described as having an eel-like body with three fins on its back. It gets its name from the six pairs of gill slits that give it a fringed appearance.
The shark, which reaches about 6 feet in length, has 300 needle-shaped teeth in 25 rows and it is believed to capture its prey by bending its body like a snake. This particular shark was nearly as large as they grow and caught at 2,296 feet below the surface, the association said.
“This guy was just unlucky,” Boag said, since the shark was caught in shallower depths than it is usually found.
David Guillot, the captain of the Western Alliance Vessell, told radio station 3AW Drive that the shark was unlike any fish he’s ever seen.
“I’ve been at sea for 30 years and I’ve never seen a shark that looks like that,” he said. “It was like a large eel, probably 1.5 meters [5 feet] long, and the body was quite different to any other shark I’d ever seen.”