Photo in the News: Fluorescent Shark Caught on Film

Photo: The fluorescent chain cat shark
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September 7, 2005—Science never sleeps, even when facing down a hurricane. Luckily for a handful of deep sea explorers, they've found a rather unusual nightlight.

This still photo from a video taken on August 22 shows the first visual evidence of the fluorescent chain catshark. Scientists taking part in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Operation Deep Scope 2005 expedition found the three-foot-long (one-meter-long) animal on the sea floor of the Gulf of Mexico.

The fluorescent shark was initially observed—though not captured on film—during last year's Deep Scope expedition. Starstruck researchers noted that the glowing menace bears an uncanny resemblance to the fictional jaguar shark pursued by Bill Murray in the 2004 movie The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

Deep Scope 2005 researchers found this shark only days before Hurricane Katrina moved over the Gulf of Mexico on August 27. At its peak, Katrina was listed as a Category Five storm, with winds reaching 175 miles an hour (280 kilometers an hour). The expedition ship waited out the storm at a Texas port while research continued onboard.

—Victoria Gilman

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