The last time ‘inflatable shark’ was in news was when someone tried to present one to former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn at the Manhattan mansion where he is under house arrest. The security guards turned away the man who brought a toothy blue fish inflated to the size of a small person, and attached with helium balloons.
Now, scientists have discovered real life inflatable sharks in the Philippines. The bizarre deep-sea swell shark that takes in water and inflates itself to scare away predators was among 300 new species discovered by a team of researchers at the California Academy of Sciences and the University of the Philippines, along with officials of the National Museum of the Philippines.
The discovery, which was made in one of the richest biodiversity hotspots in the world, is of enormous significance, according to scientists.
Among the newly discovered species are dozens of insects and spiders, sea pens, sea urchins, as many as 50 colorful new sea slugs and deep-sea armored corals. They also found a new kind of cicada that makes a distinctive laughing call.
“The Philippines is one of the hottest of the hotspots for diverse and threatened life on Earth ... we found new species during nearly every dive and hike, said, Terrence Gosliner, leader of the 2011 Philippine Biodiversity Expedition.
The 42-day expedition centered around Luzon, the largest island in the Philippine archipelago which is also rich in biodiversity.