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Sleeper Shark Found in Active Volcano

Researchers film rare Pacific sleeper shark in active underwater volcano near the Solomon Islands

Brennan Phillips, a PhD student at the University of Rhode Island and National Geographic Explorer and his team surveyed the underwater volcano Kavachi earlier this year using high-definition cameras and were surprised to find footage of the elusive sleeper shark species. 

Sleeper sharks are slow-moving, bottom-dwelling shark species and are usually found in the Northern Pacific and Northern Atlantic oceans and in the waters around Antarctica and Tasmania.

'We were freaking out,' Brennan told National Geographic about his discovery.

The three sleeper shark species - the Pacific sleeper, Southern sleeper and the Greenland shark are usually identified by their location. Considering the Solomon's vicinity to Australia, the shark recorded by the research team could be a Southern sleeper shark. However, other features, such as its darker colour and long gill slits suggest the indiviual may well be a Pacific sleeper, Marcelo Carvalho, a shark researcher at the University of São Paulo in Brazil, explained to National Geographic. If Carvalho is right, this would be southernmost record of a Pacific sleeper shark.

 

Watch the footage below:

 

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