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Kidadl Team

SEPTEMBER 02, 2021

15 Fin-tastic Facts About American Pocket Shark For Kids

American pocket shark facts help us to know about these rare animals.

Are you fond of learning about animals like the Caribbean reef shark and the sperm whale? If yes, then be ready to blow your minds as we have got an animal that you may not have heard about before. Yes, we are talking about one of the rarest and smallest shark species found to date. This is one of the two pocket sharks that have ever been reported to be found. The American pocket shark was first found by Henry Bart and Michael Doosey, scientists at Tulane University, in 2010 while running an expedition in the Gulf of Mexico.

This tiny shark was thought to be a part of the pocket shark (Mollisquama parini). After extensive studies, the shark was declared as a new species and given the binomial name of Mollisquama mississippiensis. We know only a handful of things about this species, but it gets its name from the pockets present near its pectoral fins. It is believed to produce a glowing fluid that might help in navigating deep oceans.

Would you like to know about the rarest shark that has ever been reported? Keep reading to learn American pocket shark facts. Also, check out our articles about the Pondicherry shark and false catshark.

American Pocket Shark Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an American pocket shark?

The American pocket shark is a new species of shark discovered in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

What class of animal does an American pocket shark belong to?

This American pocket shark belongs to the class Chondrichthyes and to the genus Mollisquama.

How many American pocket sharks are there in the world?

Only one specimen has ever been reported that was collected from the Gulf of Mexico. Even if there are specimens in the Gulf and other water bodies, we do not know the total population of these sharks.

Where does an American pocket shark live?

The American pocket shark was found in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico while researchers were searching for the sperm whale population. However, it isn't known if this species is endemic to this region due to the fact that only one pocket shark has been so far found.

What is an American pocket shark's habitat?

As it was discovered in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, we can easily assume that it lives deep in the ocean. Most scientists have the opinion that the habitat of the American pocket shark is supposedly at a depth of 6,600–9,800 ft (2011-2987 m).

Who does the American pocket shark live with?

We are yet to know about the living habits of this pocket shark due to the fact that only one pocket shark so far has been discovered in the Gulf of Mexico.

How long does an American pocket shark live?

We do not know about the lifespan of this new species. However, most shark species like hammerhead sharks have an average of 20-30 years or more.

How do they reproduce?

It has been assumed that two pocket sharks that have been discovered are viviparous in nature, just like most shark species. This means that the fertilization of eggs takes place inside the body of a female after mating and the fetus is nurtured inside its body. After the pup is born, it most likely needs to fend for itself. We are yet to know the number of babies that an American pocket shark might have.

What is their conservation status?

The species is yet to be introduced into any conservation lists, but this isn't an extinct species. On the IUCN Red List, it has a status of Not Evaluated.

American Pocket Shark Fun Facts

What do American pocket sharks look like?

This new species of pocket sharks found in the Gulf of Mexico have been described as a mini version of a sperm whale. We can guess that this is because of the bulbous head. Its mouth looks rectangular-shaped as it opens on the underside. The shark has an overall gray body with their fins adding a darker color. Also, the side of its gills has a cream color. This one pocket shark has 10 fewer vertebrae than the one found in the eastern Pacific Ocean in 1979.

American pocket shark facts are great for kids.
* Please note that this picture is of a great white shark and not of an American pocket shark. If you have an image of an American pocket shark, please let us know at [email protected].

How cute are they?

The specimen of this new species was a tiny and cute shark. However, we are yet to know if it is also the size of an adult.

How do they communicate?

As it is a new species, a lot is yet to be known about these pocket sharks. However, this shark species also has pockets beside its pectoral fins near the gills. Scientists suggest that these pockets are used to produce bioluminescent fluid that might be helpful for the shark to see at great depths in the oceans. We might be pretty close to seeing an American pocket shark glow-in-the-dark species.

How big is an American pocket shark?

The specimen of this new species of pocket shark found in the Gulf of Mexico measured around 5.5 in (14 cm). In comparison, an adult spinner shark measures around 109.2 in (277.4 cm).

How fast can an American pocket shark swim?

We are yet to know a lot of things about this new species of pocket sharks. However, when it comes to swimming speed, most sharks have the ability to cruise at a rate of 5 mph (8 kph) while being able to manage 48 kph (30 mph) when in need of speed.

How much does an American pocket shark weigh?

As it is a new species, not much is known about its weight. The specimen's weight was 0.5 oz (14.6 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Male sharks are called bulls and female sharks are simply referred to as female sharks.

What would you call a baby American pocket shark?

A baby American pocket shark can be called a pup.

What do they eat?

We are yet to know about its eating habits, but based on it being placed in the shark family of Dalatiidae, it will have a similar habit of feeding to cookie-cutter sharks. These animals mainly feed on other marine mammals, tunas, squids, and billfishes by latching on to the prey with the help of sharp teeth.

Are they dangerous?

We are yet to know a lot about these pocket sharks, so nothing can be said about its level of dangerousness. However, as it will most likely be a small species, we don't really think that it will be as hazardous as large shark species. It may still end up biting you with its sharp teeth.

Would they make a good pet?

Only one specimen of this species has been discovered until now, so it would be a task job to find an American pocket shark to make your pet.

Did you know...

It is the second pocket shark in the Mollisquama genus, the first being the pocket shark that was found close to Chile in the eastern Pacific Ocean in 1979.

Henry Bart and Michael Doosey, scientists at Tulane university, made the discovery of this rare bioluminescent, or 'glow in the dark' fish that turned out to be the American pocket shark.

When was the American pocket shark discovered?

This species of pocket shark was discovered in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 during a trawl survey. However, it took three more years for scientists to finally state it as a new species.

What shark is the rarest?

The American pocket shark is currently regarded as the rarest shark discovered at the moment due to the fact that only one pocket shark has been discovered.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish from our Pinnate spadefish facts and fangtooth moray eel facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable types of sharks coloring pages.

* Please note that the main image is of a zebra shark and not an American pocket shark. If you have an image of an American pocket shark, please let us know at [email protected]

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