MITSUKURINIDAE GOBLIN SHARKS
Common Name– Mackerel Sharks
Mitsukurinidae or the Goblin sharks is a family of sharks with one living genus, Mitsukurina, and five fossil genera. However, some taxonomists consider Scapanorhynchus to be a synonym of Mitsukurina, but more detailed fossil records prove many distinctive features between the two. The only known living species is the Goblin shark, Mitsukurina owstoni. Mitsukurinidae belong to the order Lamniformes or Mackerel sharks.
Mitsukurinidae is named in honor of Kakichi Mitsukuri who bought the holotype of the only species in this family to David Starr Jordon to be scientifically described. Read more about how the species itself was named in the Goblin shark.
The most distinctive characteristic of the Goblin sharks is the elongated, flat, beak-like snout, much longer than those of other sharks. The snout contains sensory organs to detect the electrical signals given off by the shark’s prey. The Goblin shark looks like it could be a Jim Henson character. They have soft, pinkish bodies and live in deep water. They are an example of adaptive evolution at its finest.
Goblin sharks also possess long, protrusible jaws, being much higher on the ram side of the RSI. They are ambush predators that even have their own feeding techniques dubbed “the slingshot method”. When the jaws are retracted, the shark resembles a Sand Tiger shark, Carcharias taurus, with an unusually long nose. Its nose resembles the nose of a goblin, like in its name. Goblin sharks have only been seen about 50 times since their discovery in 1897.
Goblin Shark– Mitsukurina owstoni