Photos immediately began circulating online of this alien fish caught by Jaime Rendon, Captain of Dr. Pescado in Cabo.
“I was really surprised, but what caused most impact were the eyes, so strange,” Rendon told the Pisces Sportfishing Fleet, Daily Mail reported. Fearing that it might be endangered, Rendon released the fish back into the water where it “swam off back down to where it had come from.”
The shark’s pink color stumped many, though its enlarged belly prompted some to believe it was a swell shark. Its large, oval-shaped eyes also led many to believe it was a swell shark.
“Even if it is a swell shark, why is it this color and why does it only have three gill slits? The scientists are still reviewing and will let us know when they have an answer,” Pisces said prior to solving of the mystery.
The organization contacted experts, who later confirmed that the creature was a swell shark. Though swell sharks are generally yellow-brown in color with dark splotches, the pink color of the mystery shark was determined to be either albino or leucistic , meaning it lacks all or some pigmentation.
“Swell sharks, Cephaloscyllium ventriosum (Garman, 1880), are fascinating creatures that get their name from their ability to swallow large volumes of water or air when threatened, causing them to double in size. They inflate their body by bending into a U-shape while grabbing their tail fin with their mouth,” a description of the swell shark on Marinebio.org read.
“They then swallow water (or air) increasing in size making them difficult to bite or pull from a crevice or other tight spot. Afterward, they emit a bark-like noise and expel the air or water returning to their normal size.”
“Alien Fish Mystery Solved – after studying the photos the experts agree that the strange fish is an albino swell shark – still alive and well! Thanks Jaime for the great story and for releasing this cute critter,” the organization wrote on Facebook when the mystery was solved.
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