New species of walking sharks discovered near Australia

23 Janvier, 2020, 19:10 | Auteur: Therese Cote

Because a tornado full of ravenous sharks obviously isn't a freakish enough way to get them on land, some sharks have evolved to walk.

Hemiscyllium michaeli, the eagle leopard shark, is a species of bamboo shark of the genus Hemiscyllium.

These four new species add to a total of nine known species of sharks that can walk.

These fins are made for walking.

'It is a unique adaptation and it means they can exploit a habitat that other predators can't. their fins gives them a remarkable edge over their prey of small crustaceans and molluscs, ' she said.

The sharks reportedly use this technique to hunt.

The four new shark species belong to the genus Hemiscyllium.

"This DNA codes for the mitochondria, which are the parts of cells that transform oxygen and nutrients from food into energy for cells".

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Sharks as a group have actually been around for about 400 million years.

Sharks have been previously observed flap-walking near the shore.

Unlike their larger cousins, members of these newly discovered walking shark species spend their time walking gently along coral reefs on four flat fins. The study cited factors like changing sea levels, emerging landforms, the appearance of reefs, and the dissemination of sharks to new locations as important drivers in their evolutionary development.

The species can survive with very little oxygen for up to an hour. Move these animals so, though not swim, but walk along the seabed.

The study authors have three main hypotheses to answer this puzzling mystery. Dr. Dungeon underlined that many new species are still waiting to be discovered. Walking sharks are tidal and can continue to stay on the surface when the waters are drawn and can be hunted on a shallow ground, thanks to their powerful fins.

"Data suggests the new species evolved after the sharks moved away from their original population, became genetically isolated in new areas and developed into new species", says Dudgeon.

Walking shark species in Indonesia was first discovered in 1824 in Raja Ampat Islands (Hemiscyllium freycinetti). The scientists also said the discovery is important to understand the overall evolution of the species in a region with the highest tropical marine biodiversity worldwide. The worldwide group of scientists who have been working on the study for more than a decade, published their findings in the multidisciplinary journal Marine and Freshwater Research. Walking, swimming or hitching a ride?

This article is based on texts provided by the University of Queensland and Conservation International.

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