These strange and unusual looking sharks can grow up to 9.8 feet long but this one that was captured near the Isle of Barra in the Outer Hebrides was closer to six feet long. While they are not uncommon, this is only the second time that the fish has been found in Scottish waters.
These sofa sharks, also referred to as false catfish, are large and heavy with long narrow eyes. They generally feed off deep-sea prey as they move slowly along the sea floor, but previous studies indicate they will eat almost anything that makes its way to deeper waters. They are also equipped with large mouths and numerous rows of tiny teeth.
"I was pretty surprised when it landed in our boat. We hadn't seen one in ten years," Dr. Francis Neat, a member of the Scottish Shark Tagging Programme, said in a statement. "It's not unique to Scotland, but it's certainly interesting to look at -- it's a big and baggy looking creature. It looks a lot like a soft, discarded sofa when it's just lying there."
The recent sighting of a rare sofa shark has earned the species a spot on Scotland's long list of native species. Previously, these sharks have been seen in coastal waters of Canada, Brazil, Portugal, Iceland, New Zealand, Hawaii and Japan.
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