A rare prickly shark was briefly captured and detained off the coast of California yesterday.
A prickly shark has only been held in captivity once before, and yesterday marked the only time a prickly shark has ever been exhibited. The shark was held for a mere fifteen hours before marine biologists decided to return it to the wild.
Staff at the Monterey Bay Aquarium noted that the shark was unable to swim properly in aquarium tanks and experienced “tonic immobility”- a trancelike state not deemed beneficial for the rare specimen. Deep water animals do not adapt as readily to to aquarium habitats.
Prickly sharks- or echinorhinus cookei- are named for the rows of spikes on their backs. They exist at depths of up to 3,000 feet and feed on fish, other sharks, octupus, squid and crustaceans. Although the shark’s short stay did not enable much testing, the six-foot, eight-inch animal was fitted with an electronic tag set to detach after six months. Researchers hope to learn more about the elusive creature’s habits and habitats.
Nearly 1,000 lucky aquarium goers got to view the prickly shark before it was set free.