New Species of ‘Walking Sharks’ Discovered in Indonesia [VIDEO]

First Posted: Aug 28, 2013 05:07 AM EDT

Australian scientists have discovered a new species of slender bodied sharks in the waters of Indonesia that walk with their fins on coral reefs and the sandy bottoms of oceans.

Belonging to the shark family Hemiscylliidae, the walking sharks are also called  longtail carpet sharks or bamboo sharks. The walking sharks use their pectoral and pelvic fins to push themselves across the stony reef heads as well as the sandy bottoms of the oceans.

The newly discovered specie measures 28 inches in length. Compared to the largest species that measures 48 inches, the new specie is relatively small.

The Hemiscyllium Halmahera sharks were caught by Gerald R.Allen and his team of the Western Australia Museum. The sharks were found off the coast of Indonesia's Maluku Island.

A few sources claim that these longtail sharks were spotted in the early 19th century . But the color pattern on the current finds of  Hemiscyllium Halmahera is unique.

The discovery of Hemiscyllium Halmahera, the new species of walking shark, makes it the 10th species in the family of sharks, reports Nature World News.

"If a large, charismatic shallow water fish like Hemiscyllium halmahera can go unnoticed for so long, there's no telling what abundance of freaky small reef fish, gobies, anthias, wrasses and dottybacks are also waiting to be found in the backwater reefs of northeast Indonesia,"  is what a report in Reef Builders says.

Researchers describe  the Hemiscyllium halmahera as brown in color, with two to three dark polygonal spots, widely scattered white spots in the matrix between dark clusters, relatively few large dark spots on the interorbital/snout region, a large U-shaped dark spot with a more or less continuous white margin on the lower half .

The new species matches H.galei from Cenderawasih Bay, West Papua, in its general appearance.

The scientists have documented their finding in the July 2013 issue of aqua: International Journal of Ichthyology.


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