Researchers were performing a biological survey of Monad Shoal April 14, 2013.
Monad Shoal, which is also know as Shark’s Point, is a world famous dive spot and home to a variety of reef-dwelling cleaner fish.
Thresher sharks will often visit the shallow coastal seamount to interact with cleaner fish such as the wrasse, which eats parasites, dead skin, and bacteria off the shark’s body.
Researchers observed wrasse fish biting at the shark’s pelvic region and noted the large female was in distress as she swam back and forth through the station.
Unfortunately, they were too far away to understand exactly what was happening, but did take a photo for identification purposes.
Once the team made it back at the lab, they began analyzing the photos and noticed something sensational.
The female was so agitated because she was birthing to a shark pup and it was the first time anyone had photographed a thresher shark giving birth.
Not only did they capture the first thresher shark birth on film, but they were also the first to document cleaner fish interacting with a marine organism giving birth.
It is possible the cleaning station could be a pupping ground as several other pregnant have been seen in the area.
Thresher sharks litters normally consist of about two live pups.
The low birthing rate and offshore habitat is most likely the reason no one has captured a live birth moment on camera before.