Officials at Awashima Marine Park, located in the coastal city of Numazu, have obtained rare video footage of a frilled shark (Chlamydoselachus anguineus) near the sea surface after it was captured in nearby waters.
On the afternoon of January 21, a fisherman spotted the large fish in the shallow water near the park. He immediately contacted Awashima Marine Park officials, who caught the shark and transported it to the park's dolphin pen, where they turned it loose. The weak shark was able to survive for several hours -- long enough for park officials to videotape it swimming around. Video footage of the frilled shark near the sea surface is very rare, and the park says it will keep the video for research purposes.
The frilled shark is typically found at a depth of around 600 meters (2,000 feet). Its slender body grows to about 160 cm long, and unlike most sharks, which typically have 5 sets of gills, the frilled shark has 6 sets. It is known as a "living fossil" for its resemblance to extinct, Paleozoic sharks.
Researchers investigating why the shark was found in shallow waters think it may have surfaced along with deep-sea water pushed up to shallow depths by easterly winds. Another possibility is that it left the deep waters because of cool water temperatures near the surface. Or perhaps it came in search of food.