Two Extremely Rare Megamouth Sharks Spotted Near San Diego

Animals

| LAST UPDATE 11/09/2022

By Stanley Wickens
megamouth San Diego fishermen
LITTLE DINOSAUR via Getty Images

Some of the rarest species ever discovered in the animal world swim deep in the vast oceans of the Earth. Two members of these species recently caught a group of fishermen off guard when they decided to make an appearance in the blue Pacific...

David Stabile and his friends were fishing about 30 miles offshore when they spotted two megamouth sharks off the coast of San Diego. The species is so rare that only 269 individuals have ever been spotted across the world. Luckily for us, Stabile managed to capture the slippery swimmers on video, which he shared on Twitter and Facebook. "This weekend my friends and I went fishing off the coast of San Diego and videotaped two of the most elusive sharks on this planet. Here's some cool footage I took of the two Megamouth Sharks," he wrote over the video. In the video, the sharks appear to be swimming in close proximity to the fishermen's boat. One megamouth shark is clearly visible near the water's surface, while its companion lurks a few feet below it, its grey figure warped by the motion of the water.

rare megamouth shark sighting
TORU YAMANAKA / Staff via Getty Images
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The species is scientifically referred to as megachasma pelagios, and is a type of deepwater shark that was first spotted in 1976. Since its discovery, it's rarely ever been spotted by humans. "This may be a mating pair: the second video shows a male (clasper clearly visible) with a damaged left pectoral fin; the first video is of a scarred shark that may be a female (no visible claspers)," wrote Alison Schulman-Janiger, a research associate at Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, in the caption after sharing the videos of the two sharks. Members of the species, which can grow up to 18 feet long, normally inhabit only the very deep layers of the ocean, staying between 3,000-15,000 below the surface. "It is extremely unusual to see them during the day," Schulman-Janiger explained.

Upon spotting the two megamouth sharks, David Stabile and his friends immediately realized what a rare occurrence it had been. "The thing about fishing is you never know what you're gonna find," said Andrew Chang, one of the group's members. And boy, was he right...

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