A sofa shark which looks like a massive blobfish has been discovered off the coast of Britain for the first time in a decade.
The false catshark — which can reach up to three meters in length — was found by scientists conducting a deep sea survey, according to News Week.
The fish, which also has narrow eyes, a large mouth and a broad head with a short, rounded snout, was discovered by Marine Scotland off the coast of the remote island of St Kilda.
Also known as a sofa shark, it has large flaps of skin on the anterior rims of the nostrils.
“I was pretty surprised when it landed in our boat,” said marine biologist Francis Neat, according to The Scotsman. “We quickly measured and weighed it before sending it back into the water … It’s not unique to Scotland but it’s certainly interesting to look at — it’s a big and baggy-looking creature [that] looks a lot like a soft, discarded sofa when it’s just lying there.”
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Its association with a sofa is result of its soft features which include large flabby muscles and an oily liver, which makes up 25 per cent of its total weight. Its large liver allows it to hover over the bottom of the ocean with little effort.
The slow-moving sofa shark has tiny teeth and normally eats bony fishes like eels, squid and shrimp.
“I was pretty surprised when it landed in our boat. We quickly measured and weighed it before sending it back into the water. … We hadn’t seen one in 10 years. It’s not unique to Scotland but is certainly interesting to look at,” Neat said.
It is only the second time in a decade that the sofa shark has been spotted in Scotland. At the moment, there are 72 different types of shark living in Scottish waters.
The psuedotrakias microdon can live at depths as deep as 1,400 meters but was caught at 600 meters on the west coast of the country. It weighed around 60 kilograms and was measured at two and a half meters.
The sofa shark are rarely encountered but have been spotted in locations around the world, including the western Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean. The sofa shark normally swim close to the sea floor and only occasionally come into shallower water over the continental shelf.