A rare megamouth shark washed ashore dead in the Philippines this week (January 30, 2015). The 15-foot shark, a Megachasma pelagios (or “giant mouth of the deep”), was discovered on the beach in Marigondon, Pio Duran, in Albay province.
The totally terrifying-looking specimen is one of less than 70 ever seen in the world, according to Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines. The shark, nicknamed “Toothless,” was preserved in ice by local villagers.
|It’s the first megamouth shark to be documented since July, when an 18-foot Megachasma pelagios was caught by Filipino fishermen. The first confirmed megamouth shark sighting was in 1976, when a deep-sea anchor accidentally caught one near Hawaii. Most have been found in Japan, the Philippines and Taiwan. Despite the recent sightings, the megamouth shark remains “one of the most rarely seen species of sharks,” David Shiffman, a marine biologist, told Business Insider.||Little is known about the species. According to the Shark Devocean blog, the deepwater shark is just one of three species (along with whale and basking sharks) that feed on plankton. The slow-moving giant bottom-feeder swims with its big mouth wide open, filtering water for plankton and jellyfish. The largest, discovered in waters off Taiwan, measured 19 feet. The sharks can live to about 100, according to Reuters.|