Sea Creature Feature of the Week: Goblin Shark

The goblin shark is one of the most unusual-looking sharks in the ocean. Living in the oceans of the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans near the continental shelf or continent margins, this shark may be found at depths of up to 1200 meters. 

The goblin shark’s snout is one of its most intriguing characteristics. Their snout is coated with specific detecting organs that let them perceive electricity in the depths where they inhabit to help them locate prey in the low light. Another distinguishing feature of this shark is its color. This species’ hues range from pink to purple-grey, with vivid blue stripes. However, after death, the colors turn brown or grey.

How big do goblin sharks get?

Although it is not a threat to people, this species may grow to be 12 feet long and weigh approximately 450 pounds.

What do goblin sharks eat?

With its powerful jaw that may stretch to the lengths of its snout, the goblin shark feeds on fish, squids, and other crustaceans. 

Goblin sharks are the sole extant genus in the Mitsukurinidae family. Around 125 million years ago, the Mitsukurinidae family first formed. Dinosaurs lived throughout this time period, with the oldest remains dating back 37-49 million years. Because this species is infrequently observed, much about its behavior is unknown. Most knowledge on this species comes from unintentional catches in other species’ fisheries.

The IUCN Red List last evaluated the goblin shark, Mitsukurina owstoni, in 2017, and it was classified as least concern. While conservation initiatives are minimal, threats to aquatic resources include fishing and harvesting.