A recent article published in the Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation unveiled this black beauty as a new species with one badass name: Ninja Crow Shark!

Now, don’t go saying: “Go home RocketNews24 writer, you’re drunk. I already heard about this and it’s called a ‘ninja lanternshark.'” You mustn’t forget that this is a ninja shark and so its Japanese name must be honored as such.

The many species of lanternsharks are known as “karasuzame” in Japanese which translates to “crow sharks” in English. Although they seem contradictory, both names are appropriate. “Lanternshark” refers to the animals’ ability to illuminate itself in the deep waters where they reside. However, despite their glowing ability these creatures also tend to be jet black, hence the name “crow shark.”

 Immature male ninja crow shark (Adult female pictured above)

Image: Dr. Douglas J. Long and D. Ross Robertson

So, when translating “ninja lanternshark” over to Japanese it becomes the “ninja crow shark,” a name that simply begs for a B-movie to be made of it…preferably with Eric Roberts.

This new type of lanternshark was found by chance off the Pacific coast of Central America, and determined to be a new species by the team of Victoria Vásquez, David Ebert, and Douglas Long. Vásquez told us it was named “ninja lanternshark” by a group of kids aged 8 to 14, because of its stark black appearance and – we assume – because ninjas are pretty rad. She also mentioned that a video of the naming process is coming soon to the Pacific Shark Research Center website.

Combined with such a moniker the beast looks rather intimidating but really the ones discovered so far are only up to 50 centimeters (20 inches) in length, which means any of us could probably take one in a bar brawl if push comes to shove. Of course, that bar would also have to several hundred meters below sea level if you’d ever hope to encounter one.

Up close and personal with the ninja lanternshark’s little teeth.

17245771-96bc-44c6-9a5c-6c8af63a8966Image: Dr. Douglas J. Long

Also, in another move of playful naming, this shark’s scientific name is Etmopterus benchleyi. Literary types might recognize the similarity to Peter Benchley, author of Jaws. However, rather than a reminder of the horrors of sharks that the book elicits, the name was chosen for the late writer’s significant post-Jaws efforts and contributions towards shark conservation. So, in a tip of the hat to both Benchley and the ninja crow shark, the team made up this poorly scaled parody promotional poster.

If you would like to learn more about the discovery of the ninja lanternshark, research team member Dr. Douglas Long wrote an entertaining and detailed account on Deep Sea News.

Source: Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation (English/pdf), CNN Japan, Hachima Kiko (Japanese)
Top Image:
 Dr. Douglas J. Long and D. Ross Robertson
Bottom Image: Victoria Vásquez and RocketNews24