The only other specimen of it’s species has been found in Peru some 36 years ago. This makes the “pocket” shark one of the rarest animals ever discovered. At only five inches in length it’s like searching for a needle in the proverbial haystack.
This species common name is the “pocket shark,” though those in the field of classifying animals refer to it by its scientific name Mollisquama sp., according to a new study published in the international journal of taxonomy Zootaxa. While it is small enough to, yes, fit in your pocket, it’s dubbed “pocket” because of the distinctive orifice above the pectoral fin–one of many physiological features scientists hope to better understand.
The pocket shark we found was only 5 and a half inches long, and was a recently born male,” said Mark Grace of NOAA Fisheries’ Pascagoula, Miss., Laboratory, lead author of the new study, who noted the shark displayed an unhealed umbilical scar. “Discovering him has us thinking about where mom and dad may be, and how they got to the Gulf. The only other known specimen was found very far away, off Peru, 36 years ago.