The past few months have been crazy-exciting for ichthyologists, as they’ve catalogued a pair of exciting new species into the record books off the coasts of South Carolina and Indonesia!
First off, we have the “Carolina hammerhead,” a hammerhead shark that looks just like the scalloped hammerhead, yet the Carolina species has ten fewer vertebrae (backbones) and a set of unique DNA that distinctly sets itself apart from its common cousin. Since the recorded scalloped hammerhead population has fallen an estimated 90% in the past few decades, we aren’t sure how widespread the Carolina hammerhead’s range is, or how many of these formerly unnoticed fish exist in the wild.
In Indonesia, a newly identified species of “walking shark” was caught on video using its fins like legs to scurry along the seabed. This harmless 27in. long shark’s scientific name is “Hemiscyllium halmahera” and it hasn’t been given an official common name just yet. These little sharks hunt small fish, crabs and other crustaceans around coral reefs and do not venture into deeper waters. Although this creature was first discovered in 2008, the shark is making news because it is just now being recognized as a unique species.
Officially spotting a new species is always fun news, two is even better, and the fact that there’s one more species of hammerhead shark and a strange walking shark is icing on the fishcake. Just don’t try to find the megalodon- 60 foot long sharks need to stay extinct…