Deep Sea News

I have to admit after being down in a sub and spending time looking at video feeds from ROV’s, the crazy animals I see from the deep start to become commonplace. That is why the below video is absolutely off the freakin’ hook! Drs. Eric Vetter and Jeff Drazen was in a submersible off the coast of Moloka’i when a 6-gill shark, at an estimated 17ft, swam within feet of the sub. UPDATE: Please note the follow post here in which Jeff Drazen discusses the encounter.


  1. #1 tjewell
    February 5, 2008

    Yay 6-gills!
    I’m on the video analysis team for the Seattle Aquarium’s 6-gill research project, but our sightings max out at a puny 13 feet.

  2. #2 Snail
    February 5, 2008

    I’ve been meaning to make a comment to the effect that you just can’t have too many submarine and hydrothermal vent posts. Now, dammit, I have to add sharks to the list.

  3. #3 Nico
    February 5, 2008


    I didn’t really think sixgills got that big. ( 13 OR 17 feet.)
    I’m stunned.

    I can just imagine the reaction in the sub seeing that fella headed for the camera.

  4. #4 Jonathan
    February 6, 2008

    I hear you on that sentiment, Craig, being an ROV pilot and a submersible research veteran myself. I’ve seen some funny stuff, like harbour seals at 700ft, dogfish ramming cameras head-on, etc. But yeah, that’s pretty freakin’ amazing! Largest 6-gill I ever saw was an 8-footer we caught on a research longline in 2004. The weight of it broke the gangion, so it escaped unhurt, thankfully.

    Snail: I’ve been toying with the idea of starting an ‘underwater technology’ blog… might have to get there someday. Subs/ROVs are my ‘thing’ :)

  5. #5 Shark Diver
    February 6, 2008

    Oh, they get BIG alright. They are see them off of Roatan on every dive there’s bait down there. Typical size in the 18′s is not uncommon. Once they grab the bait they can shake a 9000 pound sub around pretty good.

    Amazing critters!

  6. #6 Neutral Dive Gear
    February 6, 2008

    “Holy crap” is right!!!

    Thanks for the terrific video! Hat tip!

  7. #7 raincoaster
    February 6, 2008

    Proof positive that Marine Biologists are no different from other men: size queens!

  8. #8 Phil
    February 8, 2008

    that. is. scary!

    Yet, very awesome at the same time! :)

  9. #9 Ilikebeans
    February 8, 2008

    I just want to wiki what type of shark this is right now. Amasing video.

  10. #10 wenchacha
    February 8, 2008

    I just saw an ROV episode of Blue Planet a few nights ago. I can’t imagine ever doing that sort of thing myself, but it is incredibly fascinating. The crazy variety of life forms below the surface is so much more than I could ever have imagined.

    Thanks for exploring!

  11. #11 TMos
    February 8, 2008

    taken out of context. this sounds kinda perverted. :op

  12. #12 smruz
    February 8, 2008

    where is the fin on the back? or does this certain shark not have that?

  13. #13 Andy
    February 8, 2008

    Hey, can you tell us how far apart those laser dots are? I assume that’s for measurement. It would help to put in in perspective.

  14. #14 david
    February 8, 2008

    Wow – this is way cool. I’ll admit it: there is no way that I would ever go underwater, but it sure is amazing to see this sort of stuff from the safety of dry land :-)

    And here’s what I learned about the Six-Gill Shark:

    The sixgill shark, or Hexanchus griseus, is a common species of deep water shark. It is also one of the largest sharks that feed on prey other than plankton. The shark gets its name from the fact that is has six gill slits. Most other sharks only have five. It is also distinguished by having only one dorsal fin, which is located on the back of its body near the tail. The majority of other sharks have a pronounced dorsal fin on their backs near the center of their bodies. The sixgill is a large shark and grows to a length of up to 18 feet. These sharks have the unique ability to change their color for short periods of time. Since they are slow swimmers, this may help them blend into the background and approach faster swimming fish undetected. These sharks are known to feed on a variety of animals including cephalopods, crustaceans, fish, and marine mammals. They are not usually dangerous to humans unless provoked. Sixgill sharks are found all over the world in temperate and tropical regions, where they have been known to dive as deep as 6000 feet. They swim up to shallower waters at night to feed. Since they spend most of their time in deep water, very little is known about their behavior.

  15. #15 Caffeen
    February 8, 2008


  16. #16 CR McClain
    February 8, 2008

    The lasers are 15 cm apart.

  17. #17 jon
    February 8, 2008

    That shark must be on a cheeseburgers and smothered porkchop diet

  18. #18 Greg Laden
    February 8, 2008

    This is science at its coolest.

    What do these things eat?

  19. #19 kevin z
    February 8, 2008

    Greg, They are scavengers and have been seen at whale carcasses and pretty gobble stuff up within their reach.

  20. #20 Thom
    February 8, 2008

    …at what depth was this specimen photographed? Please and thank you. [:8^)I

  21. #21 Peter
    February 8, 2008

    “What do these things eat?”

    anything it wants?

  22. #22 CR McClain
    February 8, 2008

    The depth of submersible can be seen on the video and is near 1000m

  23. #23 scott anderson
    February 8, 2008

    Moby Dick, meet John Holmes.

  24. #24 Adam
    February 8, 2008

    That’s not a shark, that’s a SPACE STATION!

    Definetly a large example of a pure hunting machine. What’s the record?

  25. #25 Jon Buda
    February 8, 2008

    Where is team Zissou when you need it!?

  26. #26 Chris
    February 8, 2008

    Shakrs with freakin’ laser beams attached to their heads!

  27. #27 kevin z
    February 8, 2008

    We’re Team McClain here. lol

  28. #28 Becca
    February 8, 2008

    Thanks for sharing this! I found it via digg (you’ll get lots of Diggers today) and I have to tell you I’m adding to my bookmarks- absolutely brilliant! That shark would have had me wetting my pants. What an amazing world we live in.

  29. #29 bill gates
    February 8, 2008

    Shoot it, pan fry with butter.

  30. #30 Zed
    February 8, 2008

    Freaking sweet. At the start of the video, the two laser pointed at the shark’s head and for a brief moment it looked like the shark’s eyes were glowing.

  31. #31 Gigagi
    February 9, 2008


  32. #32 PrincessPiggle
    February 9, 2008

    This Shark, swallow you whole!

  33. #33 tom fitz
    February 9, 2008

    Great fun video to see. I had the pleasure of shooting the six gill sequence for Blue Planet many years ago, and we pretty much would just bait up the sub and then go down to 1000′ and wait for 6 hours. On the good nights we would have one encounter which never lasted for more than just a few minutes. But what a few minutes they were. Always exciting animals to see!

  34. #34 kevin z
    February 9, 2008

    Tom, Thanks for stopping by our blog! I am a huge blue planet fan and am looking forward to the updated edition. I helped to fact check some of the script for the deep sea part. It was a lot of fun!

  35. #35 Nick
    February 9, 2008

    I was under the impression that “Shark love” was a euphemism for a grossly malformed, enormously long shark genitals. This link disappointed me, but I’m also relieved.

  36. #36 wildcardjack
    February 10, 2008

    Shame shame shame for mixing measurement systems.

  37. #37 CR McClain
    February 10, 2008

    To the mixing of measurements in the post (and I seem similar comments over at Digg), I am amazed at what people get in an uproar about. To the title of the post, if you actually listen to the video, Jeff Drazen comments (at 1:00) that the head is meter wide. Shortly after that a comment is made about the shark being 10-12 feet (later analysis suggested closer to 17 feet). The title was meant to reflect those comments, i.e. the excitement of something some large. The worst part is that I contemplated changing the title so it was all Standard or Metric. I thought “Nah, surely people will get it when they listen to the video.” Ahh too much to hope for I guess. Note the revised title of the followup post.

  38. #38 Ade Maverick
    February 11, 2008

    Amazing! its so exiting hearing people getting a nuts about it as I would.

    I love being a biology geek!

  39. #39 themadlolscientist
    February 13, 2008

    LOL at your technical terms: “Holy crap!” “Woooooooaaaaaahhhh!” and at the couple of frames around 0:05, when the shark turns to face the cameras directly and the lasers look like red eyes. “Jaw-as”?

  40. #40 Liz Wright
    February 14, 2008

    I love this video. I’m a science geek and I caught this on DIGG. Great footage. I definitely don’t want a face to face, hehehehe.

    Ignore the post going on about measurement systems. Most people identify with feet, even though science uses the metric system. There is always going to be some jerk in the crowd. If they’re too dense too get it *shrugs* then their comments don’t mean much, LOL.

  41. #41 Jeff - Science Says
    March 4, 2008

    That shark is HUGE! I was looking for more info for my piece on the Bahamas shark diving accident, but man…that is one heck of a big shark.

  42. #42 Josh - A Pet Lover
    February 7, 2010

    I want that thing as a pet. What would count as “provoking” an 18 foot shark?