Glowing Sharks With Insane Extendable Jaws Hauled from the Deep Ocean off Taiwan

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A Viper dogfish shark was found off the coast on Taiwan. https://commons.wikimedia.org

Scientists discovered not one, but five rare (and creepy) glowing sharks with extendable jaws on the coast of Taiwan, reported Earth Touch News Network. Known as viper sharks or viper dogfish, they are known for needle-like teeth, extendable jaws that come down from the neurocranium, and photophores, which give them a glowing appearance, according to previous investigations of the elusive fish species.

Related: Glow-in-the-Dark Sharks Light up the Ocean with Tiny Organs on Their Skin

Little is known about this deep sea shark, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. However, scientists do know that the fish have been spotted near the bottom of the ocean. They can grow to roughly 21 inches and have been found near Japan, Taiwan and once near Hawaii. It's scientific name, bestowed by Japanese researchers in 1990, is Trigonognathus kabeyai.

The viper dogfish shark is part of the lanternshark family and has been recorded just a handful of times. The shark's uncommon jaw might be creepy, but they also serve a purpose, according to the book Shark Week: Everything You Need to Know. The fish are able to direct its fangs out to catch prey and swallow their food whole.

Few details surrounding this new catch are available, Earth Touch News writes. It took place near the eastern coast of Taiwan, and the sharks are believed to have been caught dead.

But the English-language Taiwan News reports that the fish were caught in nets, with one alive at the time of capture. Scientists cared for the creature by housing it in seawater that was 50 degrees Fahrenheit, but the fish died after one day.

According to Earth Touch News, viper sharks have typically been found at night. This catch isn't the first time the creatures were found in Taiwan, reports the site. In 2012, scientists from the Pacific Shark Research Center program found six of the fish from the ocean and in fish markets.

The mysterious fish first appeared in 1986 and was named four years later, according to Earth Touch News.

So why are so few of these fish found? Their petite size might be one factor, according to a fish expert.

"Smaller individuals may escape through mesh nets," Brit Finucci, fisheries biologist, told the website. "Or they may inhabit parts of the ocean where there is little human interaction. They're on my wishlist of species to see!"

Marine biologist and shark expert Dave Ebert has another theory for why so few of these sharks are found: a case of mistaken identity.

"It sort of reminds me of a lanternshark that has undergone some kind of diabolical experiment," he told Earth Touch. "It is definitely a bizarre-looking shark!"

Glowing Sharks With Insane Extendable Jaws Hauled from the Deep Ocean off Taiwan | Tech & Science