You never know what you’re going to find inside a dead fish. Granted, it’s not exactly a common phrase, but it’s no less true. Fishermen in Indonesia were astounded earlier this month when they were shocked at the discovery of a baby shark born with one eye and a pale white exterior.
The saga of the “cyclops” albino baby shark that was was found dead begins with fishermen working off the coast of Maluka province in Indonesia. The fishermen discovered a dead shark in their fishing net. When they cut into it, they discovered a baby shark born with one eye in the middle of its head. The baby shark also had pale skin that was lacking pigment. The small shark also had fins that were fully wormed and appeared normal otherwise. The fishermen concluded that the adult shark trapped in their net must have been pregnant.
“We found three babies inside its stomach”
explained one of the fishermen.
“But one of them looked strange with only one eye. Its color was strange too, like milk”
The fishermen in Indonesia were astounded by the sight of the baby shark born with one eye, turning it over to local authorities at the marina. Marine experts concluded that the baby shark likely had a birth deformity called Cyclopia, which is seen in many species and causes an embryo to form with just one eye. It’s also believed that the one-eyed shark had albinism, meaning it didn’t produce enough melanin to have normal skin pigment.
Have We Seen This Before?
Oddly enough, this isn’t the first time that a shark with both Cyclopia and albinism has been found. The condition is rare, although there are around 50 examples of it being discovered in the wild. In 2011, an American fisherman found a similar shark that also had one eye and lacked skin pigment.
There was a similar instance of a female albino cyclops shark found off the coast of Mexico. In that instance, a mother Bull Shark was caught on a fish hook and taken aboard a fishing vessel. Fishermen came upon the dead shark and found nine pups inside while they were cleaning fish. Of the nine, one was an albino baby shark with just one eye.
Not As Rare As You Think
The cyclops shark with albinism found in Indonesia isn’t even the only such shark discovered this month.
Jason Gillespie came across a similar animal in early October when he was deep-sea fishing off the Isle of Wight, which is near England’s South Coast. He caught a shark with no pigment that was three feet long. But after taking some pictures with it, Gillespie threw the shark back in the water.
“I’ve been fishing for 30 years and I’ve never seen one like that”
Gillespie shared afterward.
“Apparently it’s a condition where the pigment dies out of the skin color. It’s similar to an albino, but they have red eyes generally…. What’re the chances? I have no idea. It’s the fish of a lifetime, one in a million”
Scientists have little explanation for why sharks are occasionally born without pigment or develop just one eye. It’s also a mystery why two rare conditions sometimes occur in the same shark.
Scientists also believe that if these baby sharks with albinism and one eye were birthed, they would not survive for long. The lack of pigment makes it more difficult to camouflage themselves from potential predators.
Having just one eye in the middle of the head also complicates the art of surviving in the wild. In the end, we just have to chalk it up as one of nature’s great mysteries and an anomaly that few people ever stumble upon.