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Amazing shark that lives with a weird vampire, eye-ball sucking thing.


Eqalussuaq [Inuit] - Somniosus microcephalus (The Greenland Shark)

The Greenland shark is big, slow, and an apex predator of the sea. Despite its top speed of not over 2 mph (and this fast only in short sprints - it generally moves under 1 mph), it is still the second-largest carnivorous fish on Earth, and has been found with polar bear, reindeer, narwhal, and even other sharks in its stomach. Of course, although the Greenland shark is decent at hunting sharks, (sleeping) seals, and fish in the water, the polar bear and reindeer remains are from carrion that drifted to the bottom of the ocean. It’s an opportunistic predator, and will try to eat almost anything in its path.

Over 90% of the arctic Greenland sharks are hosts to the parasitic copepod Ommatokoita elongata (seen in the illustration), which has evolved to permanently attach themselves to the corneas of the genus Somnosius. They absorb nutrients through the blood vessels in the eyes and corneal fluid, and cause serious vision impairment in those affected by their presence. However, since the Greenland shark lives up to 7,200 ft (2,200 m) below the surface, it has little use of eyesight to begin with, and is believed to be largely unharmed by the presence of eyeball-sucking copepods tagging along on their corneas.

A History of the Fishes of the British Isles. Jonathan Couch, 1868.

(via scientificillustration)