Ask any eight year old boy around Halloween; nothing is cooler than a ninja. Ask my parents or anybody else who refuses to touch the ocean; there’s nothing gnarlier than a shark. And if you ask just about anybody which superpower they’d choose if they were a comic book character, maybe one out of 93 people would say “glowing in the dark.” So as far as this standardized test is concerned the newest species of shark, just discovered on the Pacific side of Central America, is scoring a solid two out of three in badassery.
The Ninja lanternshark is tiny, coming in at about just a foot and a half in length. But while its size might not intimidate you, its jet black skin and the fact that it lives between 2,700 and 4,700 feet below the surface of the ocean will give you the heebie jeebies. That jet black skin contains photophores which make its skin glow in the dark while hunting for prey. It might not seem like the best superpower for hunting when you glow in the dark, but apparently the light coming from its skin allows the shark to blend in with the little bit of light that penetrates into deep waters. So it actually works as a kind of camouflage.
So why the ninja moniker? Researcher Vicky Vasquez told her 8-year old cousin about the new species of shark and asked for suggestions on a name. “Super Ninja Shark” was the 8-years old’s original, more logical and awesome suggestion. But figuring that name wouldn’t go over as well with Vasquez’ colleagues, the Pacific Shark Research Center graduate student compromised on Ninja lanternshark. And as we all know, ninjas are cool.