On a recent mission to search for sunken World War II ships off Leyte Island in the Philippines, a rare sighting of a female bluntnose sixgill shark quickly captured the attention of the passengers aboard Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s research vessel the RV Petrel.
“In places like the Philippines we don’t have any information on them,” said Michael Heithaus, Dean of FIU’s College of Arts, Sciences & Education. “And they are probably the dominant predator in those deep waters.”
Rivaling great white sharks in size, sixgills have huge teeth meant for slashing fish and marine mammals.
“They are made for taking out big prey,” said Heithaus, who has developed a night-vision camera he hopes to attach to sixgills to spy on their hidden lives at depths where no light penetrates. He’s used similar techniques with other sharks and whales.
“Getting a camera on these animals is the only way to directly observe their environment, to see how they interact with their prey and what they’re feeding on,” Heithaus said.
Read the full article to learn more about this rare sighting.