Scientists accidentally discovered two new species of sharks. The discovery was made by scientists from the University of Newcastle during a study of the population of small commercial fish in the western Indian Ocean, the work was published in the journal PLOS ONE.
Sharks were named Pliotrema kajae and Pliotrema annae – they, according to scientists, live off the coast of Madagascar and Zanzibar. Both have six gills on each side, although the other sharks in the area have only five.
Both species belong to pilonos sharks due to the characteristic growth in the form of a saw on the skull. These are carnivores that feed on fish, crustaceans and squid and use a serrated nose for hunting. With a quick nose movement, the shark cuts the prey into small pieces, which are then conveniently swallowed.
In recent years, the number of pylon-bearing sharks, which reach 1.5 m in length, is rapidly declining due to the fact that they are often entangled in fishing nets.
“Our knowledge of sharks in the western Indian Ocean is still very scarce. But given that both new species live at shallow depths, they are likely to suffer greatly from fishing. This, combined with the limited range and apparent rarity of the representatives of both new species, raises concerns that their population may continue to decline”.
Simon Weigmann, lead author of the study