A marine survey by the Council of Agriculture Fisheries Research Institute off the coast of Taitung County turned up some rare specimens of viper shark (Trigonognathus kabeyai), first recorded off the coast of Japan in 1986.
Five specimens were netted at a depth of 350 meters, and one of the fish survived. The marine biologists attempted to keep the shark alive using cold seawater at 10°C, but the animal only survived for one day.
So far, the species has only been found off the coasts of Japan, Hawaii, and Taiwan. The new genus was first described by researchers Fumio Oe and Kenji Mochizuki in a 1990 paper published in the Japanese Journal of Ichthyology, the genus name referring to its triangular, forward-extending jaws. The resemblance of the teeth to snake fangs gave rise to its common English name.
The sharks have light-emitting spots on their underbellies.