Goblin sharks have been a frequent topic of conversation lately. What was a species that would only come up in my chats with colleagues and other elasmobranch nerds is suddenly coming up in conversation with regular people – you know, the ones that don’t live and breathe marine life. It’s easy to see why, though. Last month, a shrimp fisherman pulled up an 18 foot goblin shark in the Gulf of Mexico, and the internet went a bit mad.
Not a whole lot is known about goblin sharks, which can be found at depths of more than 4,000 feet and might actually be baby Kaiju*. But they do provoke quite a reaction. This video of this individual’s rapidly extending jaw does quite a good job of showing why: not only are they a little-known deep-sea species, they’re downright weird.
I’m particularly taken by the origin of the name “goblin shark”: it’s literally translated from the old Japanese name tenguzame, after the mythical tengu, a mischievous creature. With that in mind I ended up doodling a goblin shark on my iPad inspired by traditional Japanese art. The kanji on the lower right mean “tenguzame”. This was a lot of fun to do!
*Not scientifically verified.