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Previously Unknown Species: New Shark Discovered in Australia

Status: 07.12.2022 12:19 pm

It is striped, much smaller and appears to live at much deeper depths than the horned sharks known to science. The researchers who found the specimen found off the west coast of Australia say it is unique.

Researchers have discovered a previously unknown species of shark off the west coast of Australia. The animal is a striped horn shark, which has yet to be described by science, according to Australian science agency CSIRO.

A CSIRO spokeswoman said the specimen was spotted and brought on board on November 23 by a researcher from the research vessel Gascoyne Marine Park, west of the Cape Range Peninsula. According to CSIRO shark expert Will White, the eye-catching little horn shark is unique to Australia. The discovered model is therefore “incredibly important to science”. He spoke of one of the “most exciting discoveries”.

Bullhead sharks are usually found in shallow waters. However, the shark that has just been discovered lives at a depth of more than 150 meters, “and we don’t know anything about their behavior,” White explained.

Previously known horned sharks had a maximum length of 120 centimeters. They spend most of the day hiding among rocks and algae on the seafloor and come out at night to feed. “Australia has a truly vast expanse of ocean, home to some of the greatest biodiversity on the planet,” White said. “But we still know a little more about what lives beneath the waves.”

Sharks are vital to the ecosystem

In total, research currently knows about 500 shark species worldwide. Many of them, especially the blue shark, are now considered threatened. The reason is their fins and flesh. Both are considered a delicacy in many countries, which is why stocks have declined drastically due to hunting and fishing. That’s one of the reasons why 184 countries at the CITES World Species Conference at the end of November decided to immediately put about 100 shark and ray species into practice.

Sharks are considered a very important part of the marine ecosystem because they act as regulators of fish stocks. While hunting, they mainly kill old and weak animals, which improves the health of the stock. Some shark species feed on carcasses, which prevents the spread of disease.