Cookiecutter Sharks: Gouging Flesh Fishies

cookiecutter sharks (14)
cookiecutter sharkimage credit: slog.thestranger.com
cookiecutter sharkimage credit:betweendreamsmag.com 

cookiecutter sharkimage credit: flmnh.ufl.edu
cookiecutter sharkimage credit:forum.przyroda.org
 
image credit: Prof. J Mallefet, Research associate at UCL
Habitat: warm ocean waters worldwide
Status: Least Concern

Ah, the holidays. Such a wonderful time of the year don’t you think? You get to see family, get great presents, and of course indulge in some sugary foods. Making holiday cookies is always a fun thing to do with kids; I remember I used to love picking out different cookiecutter shapes to make some cool designs out of the dough. I bring this up because this fish is the demented version of just that. Enter the Cookiecutter Shark.A relatively small creature, the Cookiecutter Shark reaches only 17-22 inches in length but its size doesn’t take away from its nasty demeanor. Cookiecutter Sharks get their name from their gross habit of gouging out large chunks of flesh from other marine creatures, much like a cookiecutter (see the 3rd picture from the bottom). It uses its saw-like teeth and suction cup-like lips to latch on and then gnaw through the poor creatures body. There have also been several reported cases of human bodies found with “cookiecutter wounds.”Another odd feature of the shark is that it is bioluminescent. It glows bright green and has even been observed to do so for three hours after being taken out of the ocean. However, it does have a small dark patch that is unaffected by the luminescence which looks like a small dark fish. The Cookiecutter uses this patch to attract larger creatures which it then proceeds to munch on.

So who’s in the mood to make some cookies now?!?