Rare megamouth shark caught off coast of Japan

Updated: 

http://www.wptv.com/news/local-news/water-cooler/rare-megamouth-shark-caught-in-waters-off-japan

A rare megamouth shark has gone on display after being caught off the coast of Japan last month.

The megamouth is on display at the Marine Science Museum in Shizuoka City, and over 1,500 people flocked to watch staff dissect the creature.

It was caught in waters off Shizuoka last month at a depth of 2,600ft, and is only the 58th megamouth ever to have been caught or sighted by humans, reports the WPTV.

The megamouth shark is an extremely rare species of deepwater shark, and the smallest of the three plankton-eating sharks besides the whale shark and basking shark.

Since its discovery in 1976, it has rarely been seen, with only three recordings on film.

Like the other two filter feeders, it swims with its enormous mouth wide open, filtering water for plankton and jellyfish.

It is distinctive for its large head with rubbery lips. It is so unlike any other type of shark that it is classified in its own family, Megachasmidae, though it has been suggested that it may belong in the family Cetorhinidae of which the basking shark is currently the sole member.

They have been found in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans. Japan and Taiwan have each yielded more than 10 specimens, the most of any single area. Megamouth sharks have also been pulled from the waters near Hawaii, California, Mexico, the Philippines, Indonesia, Australia, Brazil, Senegal, South Africa, and Ecuador.

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