April 3, 2012
New Species of Shark
This is cool, yet scary... A new species of shark has been identified as living off the east coast of the US. It is very similar to and easily confused with the Scalloped Hammerhead, Sphryna lewini. They differ in DNA and number of vertebrae, which makes initial identification challenging.
This is good news in that more information is available to correctly assess populations of these sharks. Bad news in that previous assessments of Scalloped Hammerhead were most likely inaccurate due to misidentifications. Even worse, Scalloped Hammerheads are probably more threatened than previously thought because their numbers were likely inflated.
(Side bar: The White Marlin and Roundscale Spearfish are almost identical as well, with ranges that overlap. Thus, population assessments of both are also difficult to determine.)
What I find fascinating about this is that these fishes are BIG. When one thinks about finding new species, one first thinks of small fishes in remote places. This is just the opposite.
CLICK HERE for article.