Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New species of deep-sea catshark described from the Galapagos

Date:
March 7, 2012
Source:
California Academy of Sciences
Summary:
Scientists conducting deep-sea research in the Galapagos have described a new species of catshark, Bythaelurus giddingsi. The new shark is approximately a foot long and has a chocolate-brown coloration with pale, irregularly distributed spots on its body. The spotted patterns appear to be unique to each individual.

Scientists conducting deep-sea research in the Galapagos have described a new species of catshark, Bythaelurus giddingsi.
Credit: Image courtesy of California Academy of Sciences

Scientists conducting deep-sea research in the Galapagos have described a new species of catshark, Bythaelurus giddingsi, in the March 5 issue of the journal Zootaxa. The new shark is approximately a foot long and has a chocolate-brown coloration with pale, irregularly distributed spots on its body. The spotted patterns appear to be unique to each individual. John McCosker of the California Academy of Sciences collected the first specimens of this new catshark while diving to depths of 1,400 -- 1,900 feet aboard the Johnson Sea-Link submersible.

"The discovery of a new shark species is always interesting, particularly at this time when sharks are facing such incredible human pressure," said McCosker, Chair of Aquatic Biology at the Academy and lead author on the paper. "Many species have become locally rare and others verge on extinction due to their capture for shark-fin soup. The damage to food webs is dramatic, since sharks provide valuable ecological services as top-level predators -- when they disappear, their niche is often filled by other species that further imbalance ecosystems. Most deepwater shark species are not very susceptible to overfishing; however, since this catshark's range is restricted to the Galapagos, its population is likely limited in size, making it more susceptible than more widely distributed species."

The California Academy of Sciences sent its first scientific expedition to the Galapagos Islands in 1905 and has since organized dozens of return trips. As a result, the Academy is now home to the world's most comprehensive collection of scientific specimens from these famous islands. Most Academy field work in the Galapagos today focuses on the marine environment, where dozens of new species have been discovered in recent decades. In the 1990s, McCosker made a series of dives inside the submersible Johnson Sea-Link to explore the marine life on the islands' steep volcanic slopes and sandy bottoms. Submersibles allow scientists to explore a vast part of the Galapagos that was not accessible to Charles Darwin or earlier Academy scientists. It was during two such dives in 1995 and 1998 that McCosker collected the seven specimens used to describe B. giddingsi. Using research collections at the Academy and elsewhere as a basis for comparison, Academy Research Associate Douglas Long and Smithsonian Institution scientist Carole Baldwin worked with McCosker to confirm that the specimens did indeed represent a new species.

McCosker's marine research in the Galapagos was the subject of a 1996 Discovery Channel documentary called Galapagos: Beyond Darwin. The new shark is named in honor of award-winning filmmaker Al Giddings, who filmed and produced the Discovery Channel project and many more natural history films. McCosker's deep-sea research in the Galapagos is also highlighted within the Academy's Islands of Evolution exhibit, which opened in 2008.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by California Academy of Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. john E. McCosker, Douglas J. Long and Carole C. Baldwin. Description of a new species of deepwater catshark, Bythaelurus giddingsi sp. nov., from the Galápagos Islands (Chondrichthyes: Carcharhiniformes: Scyliorhinidae). Zootaxa, 2012

Cite This Page:

California Academy of Sciences. "New species of deep-sea catshark described from the Galapagos." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120307145422.htm>.
California Academy of Sciences. (2012, March 7). New species of deep-sea catshark described from the Galapagos. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120307145422.htm
California Academy of Sciences. "New species of deep-sea catshark described from the Galapagos." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120307145422.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Great British Farmland Boom

The Great British Farmland Boom

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 17, 2014) Britain's troubled Co-operative Group is preparing to cash in on nearly 18,000 acres of farmland in one of the biggest UK land sales in decades. As Ivor Bennett reports, the market timing couldn't be better, with farmland prices soaring over 270 percent in the last 10 years. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction

Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) With plenty of honking, flapping, and fluttering, more than three dozen Caribbean flamingos at Zoo Miami were rounded up today as the iconic exhibit was closed for renovations. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins