The ocean is said to be the home of many fantastical creatures in Greek and Roman mythology. One such amazing and baffling creature has been discovered by fishermen in Indonesia. While not actually a mythological creature, the one-eyed albino baby shark is definitely as close to fantasy as possible. The bizarre creature was found inside another shark, an adult one, which died after being caught in the fishermen’s nets.
According to reports, the discovery happened on October 10 off the coast of Maluku Province. The adult that died was cut open by the fishermen to remove its gut, a normal procedure, but what they discovered was anything but normal. The little shark resembling Cyclops inside the larger shark was also dead.
Cyclops is an ancient mythological creature from Greek legends, they had one eye on a giant body and were a part of many Titan and God folk-tales. The shark discovered here also had one single, large eye right in the middle of its head and tiny fins.
Around 70% sharks give birth to their young ones (viviparous) while the rest are egg-laying (oviparous). This shark was viviparous, probably in late gestation. According to Andy, one of the fishermen, they were startled by the baby found inside. “We found three babies inside its stomach, but one of them looked strange with only one eye. Its colour was strange too, like milk,” he said.
Once out of the sea, they handed over the shark to local authorities for analysis and examination. Early reports suggest that the shark baby probably had Cyclopia. It is a very rare birth disorder than happen in possibly any species of animals. It happens during embryonic development when the prosencephalon fails to divide properly. Resultant foetuses can have just one large undivided eye and either an absent or a non-functional nose. Around 1 in 200 of miscarried foetuses of various animals can have a Cyclopic embryo.
Apart from the eye-defect, it was also an Albino. Albinism is a skin condition where an animal lacks or produces extremely low amounts of melanin. It is the pigment which gives us or any animal its distinct colour.
It is not the first albino or the cyclops shark to be caught. In 2011, a fisherman from United States also claimed to have caught a similar fish. Similar to this incident, the adult shark caught in a net had ten growing foetuses, one of which was a female albino Cyclops. These were fully developed whereas the one found in Indonesia was still developing.
Even if they weren’t caught in the nets, these sharks would not have survived outside the womb and died soon after birth due to the deformity.