A new species of epaulette (carpet) shark was recently discovered off the coast of an island in Indonesia!
New species of epaulette shark. Photo via Conservation International.
The walking shark, Hemiscyllium halamhera, was first seen walking along the sea floor by divers in 2008. Only recently has it been officially recognized as a new species.
This is the third walking shark species found in Indonesia in the past six years! Walking sharks use their fins to navigate along the sea floor in search of small fish and crustaceans. Watch a walking shark do its thing:
Although new species are discovered almost daily, this finding has given the conservation community new hope for the future of Indonesia's elasmobranchs (sharks and rays). The local government and emerging dive tourism industry are excited by this discovery and have taken precautions to protect these sharks!
There are nine known species of walking shark in the world, all of which inhabit the shallow waters of very restricted ranges.
Got a question about this new discovery for our experts? Ask them in the comments section!