New shark species discovered off Australia

New shark species discovered off Australia

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Apristurus ovicorrugatus, a new species of deepwater catshark, is described from northwestern Australia. A team of ichthyologists has discovered the new species after identifying unique egg cases found in two Australian museums.

The new species of catshark has shiny white irises, which is unusual of a deep-sea species
The new species of catshark has shiny white irises, which is unusual of a deep-sea species

Most sharks give birth to live young, but a few species, known as oviparous sharks, lay eggs. The new species could be identified because researchers noticed something interesting about its egg cases, pouches that attach to a surface in the ocean and hold onto a fertilized shark eggs as it develops.

The egg cases, which had unique T-shaped ridges along their length ridges, had only been found in one other shark species and was unique among egg-laying sharks in Australia. They were also unique in that they had been found attached to coral. 

The distinctive T-shaped ridges of the egg are unique to this species of demon catshark

White eyes

The demon catshark Apristurus ovicorrugatus is a deepwater shark that has a distinctive white iris, which is a rare feature for deepwater sharks, which normally have very dark eyes—either dark green or just black eyes

This characteristic could help to establish links between similar species, as it must have evolved for some particular reason, not just within one species, but within a group of species.

Demon sharks like A. ovicorrugatus are also known as ghost sharks, a group of deep-sea catsharks from the family Scyliohinidae. The Apristurus is one of the most diverse shark genera known to science, with this latest addition bringing the known number of species to 40.

Fish Biology

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