Beneath the Surface

Image: Reburn

The ocean is an expansive pool of secrets. It’s also filled with a whole bunch of strange, fascinating, and downright weird creatures. While you would think we’d know everything that lurks down in the deep blue sea, new discoveries are happening every day.

One Mexican fisherman got the surprise of his life last year when he pulled what he thought was an ALIEN from the ocean. You won’t believe this tale!

The Blue Expanse

Image: Digital Journal

 If there was one thing that Jaime Rendon loved more than anything in the world—it was fishing. Every chance he could get, Rendon would spend time on his vessel the “Dr. Pescado.” Over the course of his fishing career, Rendon had seen quite a few strange fish.

However, nothing could have prepared him for an encounter so strange—it was almost alien.

Another Day on the Water

Image: NauticExpo

It was the fall of 2017 when Rendon decided to take his boat out for some recreational fishing. As the afternoon wore on, something snagged his line that began to pull with much more force than he was used to.

What could it possibly be?

The Tug of War Begins

Image: CretaPost

Rendon began to reel in his catch but found it to be quite difficult. Whatever was snagged on the hook, had no interest in coming onboard. Thus, a battle for supremacy commenced!

Would the unseen creature break free?

Beginning to Weaken

Image: The Road Slowly Traveled

As time wore on, Rendon began to gain the upper hand. The line soon went from taunt to slack, and he was able to reel in the feisty fish.

However, what broke through the surface was NOT what he expected…

Alien of the Deep

El Diario NY

At first, Captain Rendon had no idea what he was looking at. The creature had almost human-like facial features, pink-tinted skin and was bloated like a dead fish.

Could it possibly be dead?

Origin Unknown

Image: Metro TV News

Thankfully, the strange yet terrifying creature was still alive, although it seemed exhausted with not much fight left in it. It’s bloated pink and white skin shimmered in the afternoon sun, giving it an otherworldly aquatic effect.

It was then Rendon knew what he needed to do.

Difficult Choices

Image: Science Alert

Tempted to take his strange find to port, Rendon ultimately decided the poor creature deserved a second chance at life. However, his curiosity got the best of him and he made sure to snap a few photos as well.

He had to find out what this creature was…

The Investigation Begins

Image: Patch

After returning to the mainland, Rendon sent his pictures to the Pacific Research Center. Immediately, they were able to identify the animal. And no, it wasn’t some alien from space, it was actually something much more common.

Can you guess what it is?

The Swell Truth

Image: Digital Journal

The truth is, the creature hauled up by Captain Rendon was not a monster or something from outer space, but a species of shark known as the swell shark.  Considered to be a “catshark” they are known for their unique ability to swell in size when approached by a predator.

Pretty cool, right?

The Mythology of the Shark

Image: Monterey Bay Aquarium

Discovered in 1880, it was once thought to be a mythological creature of Greek origins known as the kephale, later identified as the Cephaloscyllium, which is Latin for “large belly.” This is a direct reference to the shark’s ability to suck in water and plump up in size.

The Habitat

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Found in the Eastern Pacific, sightings of this shark have been documented from the central California coast to the tip of Mexico. Most are found in the continental shelves and stick to the tropical waters but can tolerate temperatures below 70 degrees.

Distinctive Appearance

Image: A Rocha USA

Swell sharks maintain a very distinct appearance, with a rounded dorsal fin and light brown and dark patches across the body. These spots tend to get the shark confused with the leopard shark. While the species has been known to get up to 43 inches, they usually are around 35 inches in length.

So, why was the one Rendon found pink and white?

The Strange Pink Condition

Image: Chicago Tribune

One of the main reasons the shark Rendon pulled from the water was hard to identify was its pink and white color. According to researchers, this was caused by a condition known as leucism. This results in a partial loss of pigmentation, which is why the shark was not pure white with red eyes.

Hunting Traits

Image: Britannica

When it comes to hunting, the swell shark tends to eat mostly mollusks, crustaceans, and various bony fish. One of the main tactics for capturing prey is to lie still on the ocean floor with its mouth open until the fish swims right in.

The Shark that Barks

Image: Oceana

One really neat feature of this species is when a swell shark feels threatened, it will bite down on its tail and suck in as much water as possible. This has a balloon effect and it will float to the surface. However, when it exhales the water…the shark makes a barking sound.

We’d pay to see that wouldn’t you?

Slow to Reproduce

Image: Ocean Treasures

The reproduction cycle of the swell shark is very slow and limited. The female sharks only lay one to two eggs that they attach to tendrils on the reefs. The embryo eats only the yolk in the egg sac and takes anywhere from 7 to 12 months to fully develop. The baby swell sharks are then left to fend for themselves after they hatch.

Terrified of Humans

Image: Ken Jones

The relationships between humans and the swell shark are pretty much non-threatening. The swell shark tends to avoid humans and hasn’t been known to attack due to their fear.  Many aquariums tend to feature swell sharks because they can live several years in captivity.

Threatened by Accidental Fishing

Image: Ken Jones

Unfortunately, the swell shark is threatened by accidental fishing. Many tend to swim into lobster traps and die on the trip to the surface due to radical changes in pressure.

Mysterious Alien of the Deep

Image: Sealife

While Rendon may have thought he had come upon an alien lifeform, it simply was one of the many mysteries the ocean keeps hidden. Who knows what else is out there waiting to be discovered?