A fisherman has discovered what appears to be a shark with a single eye in the centre of its face.
The albino ‘cyclops’ fetus was cut from the belly of a pregnant bull shark caught in the Gulf of California this summer.
The one-eyed shark has achieved cult status since Pisces Fleet Sportfishing published pictures of it in July, giving rise to rumours of Photoshopping or other hoaxes.
But shark researchers who have examined the creature say it is genuine, although it is unlikely it would have survived after birth, MSNBC reports.
Shark expert Felipe Galvan Magana, of Mexico’s Centro Interdisciplinario de Ciencias del Mar, said: ‘This is extremely rare. As far as I know, less than 50 examples of an abnormality like this have been recorded.’
The shark’s condition is known as cyclopia, and is a rare congenital disorder characterised by the failure of the front portion of the brain to properly divide the orbits of the eye into two cavities.
Cyclopia occurs within the spectrum of brain and face defects known as holoprosencephaly, which in severe cases can result in miscarriage or stillbirth.
In 2005 a kitten born with only one eye and no nose caused a similar online stir.