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Pocket-sized shark squirts clouds of light from pockets

By The News · 22 of July 2019 14:38:34
AP Photo,, No available, FILE - This undated image provided by National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration National Marine Fisheries Service Southeast Fisheries Science Center shows a 5.5-inch long rare pocket shark. A pocket-sized pocket shark found in the Gulf of Mexico has turned out to be a new species, and one that squirts little glowing clouds into the ocean.Researchers from around the Gulf and in New York have named it the American pocket shark, or Mollisquama (mah-lihs-KWAH-muh) mississippiensis (MISS-ih-SIP-ee-EHN-sis). (Mark Grace/National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration National Marine Fisheries Service Southeast Fisheries Science Center via AP, File)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A pocket-sized pocket shark found in the Gulf of Mexico turns out to be a new species.

And the mysterious pouches that it’s named for? Scientists say they squirt little glowing clouds into the ocean.

Researchers from around the Gulf and in New York have named the species the American pocket shark, or Mollisquama (mah-lihs-KWAH-muh) mississippiensis (MISS-ih-SIP-ee-EHN-sis).

This 5.6-inch (142-millimeter) newborn male fished up in 2010 resembled a (16-inch) 400-millimeter adult female pocket shark found decades ago off Peru. This time, scientists figured out what the little pouches do.

A recent paper in the journal “Zootaxa” (ZOO-oh-TAX-uh) says the muscular glands are lined with fluorescent projections covered with pigment, indicating they squirt luminous liquid.

A scientist not involved in the research says it shows how little we know about what lives in the world’s oceans.