Scientists in Indonesia have discovered a new species of ‘walking’ shark to be named hemiscyllium Halmahera.
The new species belongs to the family of sharks known as bamboo or longtail carpet sharks. These creatures live on the ocean floor, using their fins to gently ambulate around. Their long slender bodies help with the process, allowing them to wiggle side to side to move.
Bamboo sharks are relatively small, with the largest species growing to around 48 inches or 1.22 metres in length. The new discoveries were seen to be around 28 inches or 70cm long.
Such walking sharks are too small to be a threat to humans but are a relative terror for marine invertebrates and other smaller species of fish that live on the sea floor.
The discovery was made by Dr Gerald Allen from Conservation International, who led the team and filmed the shark.
Writing in aqua, the International Journal of Icthyology, Allen describes the species as differentiated by its colouring. It was named after the remote eastern Indonesian island of Halmahera.
Conservation International hope that such discoveries will help boost conservation efforts in the area by attracting tourists. The Indonesian islands are home to extraordinarily diverse marine life including at least 218 different species of sharks and rays.