New Shark Species Discovered

Finally some good shark news. Scientists discovered a new species of spotted, bottom-dwelling shark near the Galapagos Islands. It was first observed from a submersible vessel and named bythaelurus giddinsi. The new species is a cat shark and was seen at a depth of 1,600 feet. Each of the specimens that were collected is less than two feet long and all have pale spots in random, unique patterns.

One of the scientists noted the irony of discovering a new shark species in this period of great losses of sharks worldwide. He said ninety percent of the sharks that were alive when he was born are now gone.

“Many species have become locally rare and others verge on extinction due to their capture for shark-fin soup. The damage to food webs is dramatic, since sharks provide valuable ecological services as top-level predators — when they disappear, their niche is often filled by other species that further imbalance ecosystems,” said McCosker, Chair of Aquatic Biology at the California Academy of Science. (Source: Science Daily)

Six to seven of the new sharks were killed by the research though, as they were preserved in formaldehyde for study. They were collected over ten years ago, but the study results were just announced recently.

The new catshark only lives in waters near the Galapagos Islands. Endemic species are common in the Galapagos. Over three fourths of the birds are reptiles only live there. The same is true of many of the local marine species. Because of the tremendous number of unique species, Darwin was able to do important research there which helped him formulate his ideas about adaptation and evolution.

Islands are susceptible to climate change though, so the time remaining to study them might be running out. The Maldives and Tuvalu are two island nations that might be flooded by rising seas. Galapagos species also face climate changed-related impacts.

Image Credit: California Academy of Sciences

Related Links
Thousands of Shark Species Perish in Texas
More Sharks Protected in Florida

116 comments

Elisa F.
Elisa F3 years ago

Great News! Thanks for sharing.

Kayleigh Harter
Kayleigh Harter3 years ago

Cool.

Aud Nordby
Aud nordby3 years ago

ty

Melania Padilla
Melania Padilla3 years ago

Beautiful, thanks!!

Sierra Gamber
Sierra Gamber4 years ago

awesome and sooo pretty i would love to see one in the wild

Beth M.
Past Member 4 years ago

thank you.

Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola4 years ago

Thanks for the info!!

Tim U.
Tim Upham4 years ago

New shark species are still being discovered that are bottom dwellers. They use their powerful jaws to crack open molluscs. Still elusive for 409 million years of existence.

Lucille P.
Lucille P4 years ago

great news for sharks. Let's just hope humans don't decide to nearly obliterate this species too.

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson4 years ago

sharks are beautiful, unique, and ancient! they are captivating and majestic in their own right. Lets protect this new discovery!