New Wobbegong Sharks
Here's the media release:
"Two new wobbegong shark species have been found off the South West coast of Western Australia, during catch monitoring of the regional commercial shark fishery.
"Details of the new wobbegong species have recently been published in the taxonomic journal Zootaxa, following a collaborative project by CSIRO taxonomist Dr Peter Last and WA Department of Fisheries shark researcher Justin Chidlow.
"Mr Chidlow said wobbegongs were not as sleek looking as some of the better-known sharks and the new species helped reinforce the importance of the continental shelf off WA as an area where a large range of wobbegong species could be encountered.
"'Specimens of the new floral banded wobbegong (Orectolobus floridus) have been found between Geraldton and Augusta and specimens of the dwarf spotted wobbegong (Orectolobus parvimaculatus) were found in shark fishery catches between Green Head and Mandurah,' Mr Chidlow said.
"'When I first saw the floral banded wobbegong it looked similar to the species many fishers know as the cobbler wobbegong (Sutorectus tentaculatus), but on closer inspection there were some very obvious differences that help define it as a separate species.
"'Identification of the dwarf spotted wobbegong was a little more complicated, because we initially thought the specimens we had were juveniles of the spotted wobbegong species, or Orectolobus maculatus.
"'However, we also noticed some distinct differences in sizes at maturity in the specimens we had observed, so it became obvious that the new species was more like a dwarf form of the known species. The word parvi is latin for small, hence the name parvimaculatus for the new species.'
"Mr Chidlow said the colour of the floral banded species was mainly dark brown with yellowish blotches on the upper surface and white on the underbelly, whereas the adult of the dwarf spotted was a lighter yellowish brown with large white blotches on top and creamy coloured underneath.
"'Wobbegongs, which are often sold in fish shops under the name of carpet shark, are probably the most common shark species seen by divers. Itís amazing to think that the new species have been present off our coast, but that itís only now that they have been formally identified as separate and been added to the list of known wobbegong species,' he said.
"'Our greater understanding of all species increases our knowledge on the sustainability and management of Western Australiaís shark fisheries.'"