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article imageNew species of shark discovered

By Tim Sandle     Mar 9, 2012 in Science
San Francisco - A new shark species has been discovered in the waters of the Galapagos Islands. The shark is quite small and is probably related to the dogfish family.
Marine biologists have discovered a new species of shark. The shark has been found in the waters around the Galapagos Islands (incidentally, the islands where Charles Darwin conducted his famous research on finches which led to the theory of natural selection).
The biologists discovered a previously unrecorded species of shark. The sharks have brown skin with pale spots, approximately 1 and a half feet long. Interestingly the pattern of spots appeared different for each individual shark.
The sharks were found in relatively deep waters (between 1,400 and 1,500 deep). The sharks were examined by the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, who published their findings in the science journal Zootaxa.
The newly discovered species has been named Bythaelurus giddingsi and it will be categorised either in the catshark, or dogfish, family (which contain a large number of shark species). The common name is likely to be Galapagos Catshark.
In the science paper, the biologists explain that they looked at seven different specimens and decided that they were a new species based on the "coloration, the length of its anal-fin base, and in other morphological characters" which differ to other sharks which have been characterized to date.
The Smithsonian Institution quotes John McCosker of the California Academy of Sciences as saying:
“The discovery of a new shark species is always interesting, particularly at this time when sharks are facing such incredible human pressure. Most deepwater shark species are not very susceptible to overfishing; however, since this catshark’s range is restricted to the Galapagos, its population is likely limited in size, making it more susceptible than more widely distributed species.”
More about Shark, Evolution, Galapagos islands, Fish, New species
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