Rare megamouth sharks can live for about a century. Because fewer than 70 of these terrifying creatures have been seen around the world, sightings tend to make the headlines. And that is what happened this week.
According to Yahoo News, a 15-foot megamouth shark weighing around 1,500 pounds washed ashore dead in the Philippines. It was seen on the beach in Marigondon, Pio Duran, in Albay province. Villagers preserved the shark in ice and gave it the name “Toothless.”
Not much is known about the species since the first sighting in 1976. "The megamouth is one of the most rarely seen species of sharks," David Shiffman, a marine biologist, told Business Insider. Megamouth's scientific name, Megachasma pelagios, translates to “giant mouth of the deep.”
Megamouths have been spotted all over the globe but are believed to live in the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic oceans. According to the Western Australian Museum, megamouths are one of just three species of shark that feed on plankton as they swim the oceans with their mouths wide open, filtering plankton through the gills.
"Their mouth is bioluminescent," said Shiffman."Some scientists believe this is used to attract their food."
Although the sharks can grow to up to 18 feet long, they tend to stay away from humans because of their small teeth and natural habitat. They can be found deeper than 3,000 feet in the ocean which has made learning about these animals increasingly difficult. They feed on jellyfish, crustaceans and zooplankton.
The shark was dissected on Jan. 29 at the Marine Science Museum in Shizuoka City, Japan (video below).