Report by Robert Kokenyesi, Ceramic Artist, Beachfront Pottery, Godfrey, IL 62035, USA.
OK, so animals and plants can get many names as people at different locales call the by different names. Not sure why one group of sharks got actually three very different sounding names. Perhaps, because they are rarely seen or caught, and each of their appearance makes people think of a different name.
The title of the article by National Geographic Magazine calls this creature a “ghost shark”, but that’s just the beginning.
Dive deep deep down into the ocean, long past the point where the sun’s rays can penetrate, and you will enter the realm of the ghost sharks. Also called chimaeras, ghost sharks are dead-eyed, wing-finned fish rarely seen by people. Relatives of sharks and rays, these deep-sea denizens split off from these other groups some 300 million years ago.
So, most of us gets the “ghost” name. The pale color, and those lines criss-crossing the skin of the shark make it look like it’s covered in sheets. Those lines are housing sense organs for water pressure, so the shark can find slow moving prey in total darkness. The “shark” name is used here inappropriately, as these animals are not true sharks (read more below).
The water bunny is a name for the same animal the water bunny is a endearment of the name rabbit fish that the ghost shark is sometime called. This name could come from the floppy fins of the ghost shark, and those fins might give the impression of rabbit ears.
The third name for this creature is chimaera. If you dig into the classification, you’ll find that the chimaeras are close relatives of sharks. As long as you want to call close relatives groups of fishes that fishes diverged 300-400 million years ago. The chimaeras found their optimal environment in deep oceans, while sharks live in more shallow regions of oceans. The chimaeras eat mollusks, and crustaceans. Interestingly, we discovered 16 new chimaera species in the 21st century thanks to the scientific explorations of deep oceans.
For Beachfront Pottery these animals provide a new set of shapes and surface visuals to create new ceramic art. While I haven’t made any pieces titled “Ghost Shark”, there are a few sketches that I will be exploring and developing.