Goblin shark Introduction
The Goblin shark is a weird, wild, and interesting creature that dwells deep in the depths of the world’s darkest oceans. Named for the goblin or “Tengu” in Japanese folklore, the Goblin shark certainly lives up to its name—at least in terms of its appearance. The Goblin shark is known as a “living fossil” which is a term for any animal that is unique in the present-day ecosystem but closely resembles species that lived millions of years ago. Because it makes its home in dark and remote areas of the deep ocean, the Goblin shark is difficult to study. This means that little is known about its habits or lifestyle in the wild. However, by analysing goblin sharks that have been caught by fishermen and scientists, it is possible to make educated guesses about the nature of this mysterious and frightening beast. The most striking feature of the Goblin shark is its pronounced, flattened snout. This snout is actually covered with electroreceptors that allow the Goblin shark to sense its prey, mainly smaller fish, by the minute electric fields they produce. Some have speculated that this long snout could be used to stir up sediment on the ocean floor to uncover food, but due to its soft and flabby nature this is likely not the case. Underneath the snout, the Goblin shark has a hinged and fully mobile jaw lined with needle-like teeth. This jaw can extend nearly to the front of the snout, and the goblin shark uses it to spring a trap for its prey. The body of the Goblin shark is flabby and soft with underdeveloped muscles, which gives scientists clues into the shark’s behaviour—causing them to assume that Goblin sharks are slow-swimming. The skin is soft and semi-transparent, typical of many deep-sea fish, but the colour of the Goblin shark’s skin does change as it ages, going from nearly white to a dark grey. Because of its supposedly slow nature, the Goblin shark likely ambushes its prey, and the mobile jaw could be a direct adaptation to this slow-swimming lifestyle. Despite its rarity, the Goblin shark is listed as “least concern” because it rarely faces any human threats due to its remote environment.
Keywords to learn
Electroreceptor: an organ that contains sensory cells that are capable of detecting electric fields in water
Sediment: matter that settles to the bottom of a liquid—sediment covers the ocean floor
Hey Kids, my name is Gabi the Goblin shark and I am very happy to meet you. Learn more about me and my species at
Scientific name:Mitsukurina owstoni.
Mass:150kg – 210g (330lbs – 460lbs).
Length:3m – 6m (9.8ft – 20ft).
Region Found:All major Oceans, particularly near Japan.
Population Status:Least Concern.
Current population trend:Least Concern.
As you have learned, the Goblin shark is a crazily weird fish, very scary looking but also very wonderful looking at the same time.
Now that you know more about the Goblin shark by learning the key data above, be sure to also to check out the fun facts. When you are finished learning the facts, try answering the questions in the Q&A corner on the bottom right side of the page.
Download questions about the Goblin shark here: Goblin Shark (answers are on this page)
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Electric eel Fun Facts for Kids
- # 1. The goblin shark can change the size of its pupils to adapt to low light levels near the ocean floor.
- # 2. Goblin sharks can have up to 53 rows of teeth on the top jaw and up to 62 rows of teeth on the bottom jaw.
- # 3. Little is known about the goblin shark’s life cycle because a pregnant female has never been found.
- # 4. Each of the different rows of teeth are adapted to their own specific task.
- # 5. Goblin sharks have been known to accidently feed on man-made objects on the ocean floor—and their teeth have been found embedded in undersea cables.
- # 1. Where does the Goblin shark get its name?
- # 2. What is a living fossil?
- # 3. How does the Goblin shark hunt its prey?
- # 4. To what scientific order does the Goblin shark belong?
- # 5. What does the Goblin shark use its long snout for?