Extremely rare megamouth shark washes up in Philippines

15ft megamouth shark discovered on beach

Extremely rare megamouth shark washes up in Philippines

An extremely rare megamouth shark has washed up on a beach in the Philippines.

The 15ft shark was found by the residents of Barangay Marigondon in Pio Duran, between the Albay and Masbate provinces of central Philippines, last Wednesday.

It was already dead when it was discovered and was put on ice while awaiting a necropsy.

Speaking to the Inquirer, Nonie Enolva, at the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources-Regional Emergency Stranding Response Team said that the shark had wounds and its tail was missing.

The cause of the shark's death is unknown, but Nonie said it's thought it was either trapped in a fishing net or ate poisonous organisms.

Nonie added that the bureau planned to stuff the animal and put it on display at the Albay Park and Wildlife museum.

Pictures of the shark were uploaded to Twitter.

The megamouth shark's name refers to the disproportionate size of its head and the huge capacity of its mouth, which it keeps open while swimming in order to feed on plankton and jellyfish.

According to Wikipedia, it is an extremely rare species of deepwater shark, and the smallest of the three planktivorous sharks, besides the whale shark and basking shark.

Since its discovery in 1976, few megamouth sharks have been seen, with 60 specimens known to have been caught or sighted as of January 2015, including three recordings on film.

They can grow up to 18ft and, according to CBS News, have been found in bay waters as shallow as 16 feet and recorded offshore at depths of 15,000 feet.

They have been found in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans. Japan, the Philippines, and Taiwan have each yielded at least 10 specimens, the most of any single area, amounting to more than half the worldwide total.

Specimens have also been sighted in or come out of the waters near Hawaii, California, Mexico, Indonesia, Australia, Brazil, Senegal, South Africa and Ecuador.

Sharks and more: Amazing pics of ocean life

Sharks and more: Amazing pics of ocean life

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