Not just a huge collection of Shark Pictures: contains images of sharks, skates, rays, and a few chimaera's from around the world. Elasmodiver began as a simple web based shark field guide to help divers find the best places to encounter the different species of sharks and rays that live in shallow water but it has slowly evolved into a much larger project containing information on all aspects of shark diving and shark photography.

There are now more than 10,000 shark pictures  and sections on shark evolution, biology, and conservation. There is a large library of reviewed shark books, a constantly updated shark taxonomy page, a monster list of shark links, and deeper in the site there are numerous articles and stories about shark encounters. Elasmodiver is now so difficult to check for updates, that new information and pictures are listed on an Elasmodiver Updates Page that can be accessed here:


Shark picture - green sawfish






Amazingly, there are still new species of sharks and rays being described by science on a regular basis. In some cases they have been well known for a while (e.g. the Western wobbegong) but no one has gotten around to describing them. More exciting is when a deep water trawl or a lucky diving expedition uncovers a species that the scientific community was completely unaware of. This page on highlights the discovery of some of these species. Many thanks to Helmut Nickel who somehow manages to find out whenever a new species is described and diligently informs the rest of the lay community of shark fanatics through the Shark-L web forum. Without his input I wouldn't have a clue.

If you have information about a species I have overlooked please email me the information and I will add it to the list.


Recent Sharks and Rays Previously Unknown to Science or Previously Undescribed:


Etmopterus benchleyi n. sp., a new lanternshark (Squaliformes: Etmopteridae) from the central eastern Pacific Ocean

Victoria E. Vásquez, David A. Ebert, & Douglas J. Long.

ABSTRACT: A new species of lanternshark, Etmopterus benchleyi n. sp., is described from eight specimens collected off the Pacific coast of Central America at depths ranging between 836 and 1443 meters. The new species is placed in the Etmopterus spinax clade by a lack of flank markings and the moderately short, slender, hook-like, conical dermal denticles distributed over the body. It can be distinguished from its closest congeners based on a combination of coloration, proportional body measurements, meristic counts, arrangement of dermal denticles, and size at maturity. The dorsal fins of the new species are either similar in size or the second dorsal fin is slightly larger than the first vs. the second dorsal fin distinctly larger than the first in E. granulosus, E. princeps, and E. litvinovi. The pre-oral length is shorter in the new species (6.9–9.0% TL) than in its closest congeners, E. granulosus (7.9-11.3% TL) and E. princeps (9-10% TL). The tooth count in the lower jaw is higher in E. benchleyi (30–36) than in E. granulosus (28), but lower than in E. litvinovi (40–50) and E. princeps (40–50). Photophores in E. benchleyi are sparse compared to other etmopterids and difficult to identify due to its uniform black color. This new species is also distinct from other members of the E. spinax clade in having dense concentrations of dermal denticles closely surrounding the eyes and gill openings. E. benchleyi is the only Etmopterus species presently known from the Pacific coast of Central America.

Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation 17: 43-55.



Chimaera carophila (Chondrichthyes: Chimaeriformes: Chimaeridae), a new species of chimaera from New Zealand

Authors: Kemper, Jenny M1; Ebert, David A2, 3; Naylor, Gavin JP1; Didier, Dominique A4


Abstract: A new species of chimaeroid, Chimaera carophila sp. nov., is described from 37 specimens collected from deepwater slopes and seamounts around New Zealand. The new species is distinguished from its closest congeners, Chimaera fulva Didier et al. 2008, Chimaera macrospina Didier et al. 2008, and Chimaera obscura Didier et al. 2008, by its uniform pale-brown coloration, geographic distribution, and a combination of morphological characters, including longer dorsal and ventral caudal fin bases, a shorter first dorsal fin height, a shorter dorsal fin spine, and shorter claspers that are divided distally for one-third of their length. Chimaera carophila sp. nov. also can be distinguished from closely related species in New Zealand and Australian waters based on DNA sequence divergence of the NADH2 gene. Comparisons of body size in a large sample of specimens show considerable overlap in character ranges among congeners making species distinctions difficult. New combinations of morphometrics are suggested including ratios of head length to eye length and dorsal spine length to head length, to better distinguish among species of chimaeroids that are similar in overall appearance and size. Also, a key to New Zealand and Australian Chimaera species is provided.


Heliotrygon gomesi, n. sp. and Heliotrygon rosai, n. sp.,

Morphology and phylogenetic relationships of a remarkable new genus and two new species of Neotropical freshwater stingrays from the Amazon basin (Chondrichthyes: Potamotrygonidae)




The morphology and phylogenetic relationships of a new genus and two new species of Neotropical freshwater stingrays, family Potamotrygonidae, are investigated and described in detail. The new genus, Heliotrygon, n. gen., and its two new species, Heliotrygon gomesi, n. sp. (type-species) and Heliotrygon rosai, n. sp., are compared to all genera and species of potamotrygonids, based on revisions in progress. Some of the derived features of Heliotrygon include its unique disc pro- portions (disc highly circular, convex anteriorly at snout region, its width and length very similar), extreme subdivision of suborbital canal (forming a complex honeycomb-like pattern anterolaterally on disc), stout and triangular pelvic girdle, extremely reduced caudal sting, basibranchial copula with very slender and acute anterior extension, and precerebral and frontoparietal fontanellae of about equal width, tapering very little posteriorly. Both new species can be distinguished by their unique color patterns: Heliotrygon gomesi is uniform gray to light tan or brownish dorsally, without distinct patterns, whereas Heliotrygon rosai is characterized by numerous white to creamy-white vermiculate markings over a light brown, tan or gray background color. Additional proportional characters that may further distinguish both species are also dis- cussed. Morphological descriptions are provided for dermal denticles, ventral lateral-line canals, skeleton, and cranial, hyoid and mandibular muscles of Heliotrygon, which clearly corroborate it as the sister group of Paratrygon. Both genera share numerous derived features of the ventral lateral-line canals, neurocranium, scapulocoracoid, pectoral basals, clasper morphology, and specific patterns of the adductor mandibulae and spiracularis medialis muscles. Potamotrygon and Ple- siotrygon are demonstrated to share derived characters of their ventral lateral-line canals, in addition to the presence of angular cartilages. Our morphological phylogeny is further corroborated by a molecular phylogenetic analysis of cyto- chrome b based on four sequences (637 base pairs in length), representing two distinct haplotypes for Heliotrygon gomesi. Parsimony analysis produced a single most parsimonious tree revealing Heliotrygon and Paratrygon as sister taxa (boot- strap proportion of 70%), which together are the sister group to a clade including Plesiotrygon and species of Potamotry- gon. These unusual stingrays highlight that potamotrygonid diversity, both in terms of species composition and undetected morphological and molecular patterns, is still poorly known.



Potamotrygon limai, sp. nov.

A new species of freshwater stingray from the upper Madeira River system, Amazon basin (Chondrichthyes: Potamotrygonidae)


JOÃO PEDRO FONTENELLE1, JOÃO PAULO C. B. DA SILVA & MARCELO R. DE CARVALHO Departamento de Zoologia, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade de São Paulo, Rua do Matão, Travessa 14, no. 101, CEP 05508- 090, São Paulo, SP, Brazil. E-mails: (JPF); (JPCBS); (MRC) 1Corresponding author



Potamotrygon limai, sp. nov., is described from the Jamari River, upper Madeira River system (Amazon basin), state of Rondônia, Brazil. This new species differs from congeners by presenting unique polygonal or concentric patterns formed by small whitish spots better defined over the posterior disc and tail-base regions. Potamotrygon limai, sp. nov., can be further distinguished from congeners in the same basin by other characters in combination, such as two to three rows of midtail spines converging to a single irregular row at level of caudal sting origin, proportions of head, tail and disc, patterns of dermal denticles on rostral, cranial and tail regions, among other features discussed herein. Potamotrygon limai, sp. nov., is most similar to, and occurs sympatrically with, P. scobina, and is distinguished from it by lacking ocellated spots on disc, by its characteristic polygonal pattern on posterior disc, a comparatively much shorter and broader tail, greater intensity of denticles on disc, more midtail spine rows at tail-base, and other features including size at maturity and mer- istic characters. Potamotrygon limai, sp. nov., is also distinguished from other species of Potamotrygon occurring in the Amazon region, except P. scobina, by presenting three angular cartilages (vs. two or one). This new species was discov- ered during a detailed taxonomic and morphological revision of the closely related species P. scobina, and highlights the necessity for thorough and all-embracing taxonomic studies, particularly in groups with pronounced endemism and mor- phological variability.



Aetobatus narutobiei

A New Species of Eagle Ray  from the Northwest Pacific:

Authors: William T. White mail, Keisuke Furumitsu, Atsuko Yamaguchi.



Recent taxonomic and molecular work on the eagle rays (Family Myliobatidae) revealed a cryptic species in the northwest Pacific. This species is formally described as Aetobatus narutobiei sp. nov. and compared to its congeners. Aetobatus narutobiei is found in eastern Vietnam, Hong Kong, China, Korea and southern Japan. It was previously considered to be conspecific with Aetobatus flagellum, but these species differ in size, structure of the NADH2 and CO1 genes, some morphological and meristic characters and colouration. Aetobatus narutobiei is particularly abundant in Ariake Bay in southern Japan where it is considered a pest species that predates heavily on farmed bivalve stocks and is culled annually as part of a ‘predator control’ program. The discovery of A. narutobiei highlights the paucity of detailed taxonomic research on this group of rays. This discovery impacts on current conservation assessments of A. flagellum and these need to be revised based on the findings of this study.



Dipturus amphispinus sp. nov.,

A new longsnout skate (Rajoidei: Rajidae) from the Philippines:




Rhynchobatus immaculatus

New species of Sharkfin Guitarfish described from Taiwan:




A new species of wedgefish, Rhynchobatus immaculatus sp. nov., is described from a small collection of specimens ob- tained from fish markets in northern Taiwan. It is probably a medium-sized species (probably attaining ca. 1.5 m TL) be- cause the largest known specimen, an immature male (ca. 1 m TL), has prolongated dorsal and caudal fins typical of adult wedgefishes. Rhynchobatus immaculatus is unique within the family in having a very high vertebral count (within the range of 165–170 total free centra) and in lacking a dark pectoral marking. Other Rhynchobatus species occurring in Tai- wanese seas appear to attain a larger adult size, possess a dark pectoral marking at least in young, and have lower vertebral counts (fewer than 161 total fee centra). Rhynchobatus yentinesis, which was described from a specimen taken nearby at Wenzhou, China, has not yet been attributed to a currently recognised species. However, based on the illustration of the holotype, which reveals a broad-snouted species with a dark pectoral spot, it is closest to either R. palpebratus or R. springeri.



Pristiophorus Nancyae a New Species of Sawshark (Chondrichthyes: Pristiophoridae) from Southern Africa
Authors: Ebert, David A.; Cailliet, Gregor M.
Source: Bulletin of Marine Science, Volume 87, Number 3, July 2011 , pp. 501-512(12)
Publisher: University of Miami - Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science


A new species of sawshark, Pristiophorus nancyae sp. nov., is described from eight specimens collected off mozambique. The new species is the second member of the family pristiophoridae and first member of the genus Pristiophorus described from the western indian ocean. The new Pristiophorus species can be distinguished from the sympatric occurring six-gilled sawshark, Pliotrema warreni regan, 1906, most notably by having five paired gill openings as opposed to six. The new species is distinguished from all other Pristiophorus species by several distinctive characteristics. most notably, the new species differs by having a very distinctive double row of four to five conspicuous large pits anterior to the nasal barbels on the underside of its snout. other distinguishing characteristics include a broad, triangular first dorsal fin with a rear tip that extends behind the pelvic midbases, barbels much closer to mouth than snout tip, two rows of enlarged pits on the underside of the pre-barbel rostrum, ridges on the base of its large lateral rostral teeth, mostly tricuspidate, flat, imbricated lateral trunk denticles, and plain color pattern. The new species is compared to the five other known Pristiophorus species and a revised key to the genus is presented.




Published in June 2012
New deep water skates of the genus Notoraja Ishiyama, 1958 (Rajoidei, Arhynchobatidae) from the southwest Pacific
Bernard Séret and Peter R. Last
Four new skates of the genus Notoraja Ishiyama, 1958 are described from the rarely accessed, deep waters off New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Fiji islands, and the Norfolk Ridge. Three of these (N. alisae n. sp., N. longiventralis n. sp. and N. fijiensis n. sp.) are “velcro skates” which are characterised by their velvety dorsal and ventral surfaces, covered with fine denticles. Although similar in shape, they differ by their colour pattern, dermal armature, development of the lateral tail folds, and size of the pelvic-fin anterior lobe and nasal curtain. The description of the fourth species, Notoraja inusitata n. sp., is based on a juvenile male exhibiting some unusual features resembling those of other skate genera.
Zoosystema 34 (2): 319–341.



Himantura randalli sp. nov., a new whipray (Myliobatoidea: Dasyatidae) from the Persian Gulf

Posted: 04 Jun 2012 01:40 AM PDT
Published on 29. May 2012

Peter R. Last, B. Mabel Manjaji-Matsumoto & Alec B. M. Moore


A new whipray, Himantura randalli sp. nov., described from material collected off Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar, appears to be endemic to the Persian Gulf. It has been frequently confused with forms of the more widely distributed whipray Himantura gerrardi Gray and other presently unidentified species from the Indian Ocean. Himantura randalli sp. nov. is distinguished from these species by a combination of characters, i.e. disc shape, morphometrics, squamation (including its rapid denticle development and denticle band shape), plain dorsal disc coloration, and whitish saddles on a dark tail in young. It is a medium-sized whipray with a maximum confirmed size of 620 mm disc width (DW) and a birth size of around 150–170 mm DW. Males mature at approximately 400 mm DW. Himantura randalli sp. nov. is relatively abundant in the shallow, soft-sedimentary habitats of the Persian Gulf from where it is commonly taken as low-value or discarded bycatch of gillnet and trawl fisheries.

Zootaxa 3327: 20–32 (2012)



A new species of softnose skate from New Caledonia
Posted: 29 Jan 2012 09:36 AM PST
Published online on 26. January 2012.
Bathyraja leucomelanos, a new species of softnose skate (Chondrichthyes: Arhynchobatidae) from New Caledonia

Samuel Paco Iglésias and Lauriana Lévy-Hartmann


A new species of softnose skate (Arhynchobatidae) is described, based on a single adult male measuring 895 mm TL that was collected at a depth of 953–1,022 m on the Coriolis Bank off western New Caledonia in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The specimen conforms to the genus Bathyraja in having the rostral cartilage continuous with the neurocranium and very slender and uncalcified over its length. Bathyraja leucomelanos sp. nov. differs from its congeners through a combination of the following characters: distinctive coloration of the disc with white dorsal and black ventral surfaces, dorsal surface of the disc entirely covered with dermal denticles, ventral surface naked, anterior portion of the anterior margin of the disc straight, snout long and very broad with orbit about 6.0 times in preorbital length, orbit 0.73 times interorbital width, mouth 6.8% TL, tail 0.88 times precloacal length, accessory terminal 2 cartilage of the clasper having an expanded disc-shaped tip, and alar thorn tip undulating. Molecular barcoding from the COI sequence reveals that this new species is genetically close to B. spinicauda from the North Atlantic Ocean.

Ichthyological Research Volume 59, Number 1, 38-48, DOI: 10.1007/s10228-011-0254-y


" Resurrection of the name Carcharhinus cerdale, a species different from Carcharhinus porosus "
José I. Castro.

The smalltail shark, Carcharhinus porosus Ranzani, 1840, is a small shark that inhabits the western North Atlantic Ocean from the Gulf of Mexico to Brazil. Carcharhinus cerdale Gilbert, in Jordan and Evermann, 1898, is a small shark that inhabits the eastern Pacific from the Gulf of California to the tropics. Through a series of mistakes these two allopatric species were synonymized. Meek & Hildebrand (1923) probably committed the first error when they misidentified or assumed the origin of market specimens in Colón, Panama, and stated that C. cerdale was found in both sides of the Isthmus of Panama. Meek & Hildebrand did not compare C. cerdale with C. porosus, and they did not synonymize the two species. Bigelow & Schroeder (1948) made the second error by stating that Meek & Hildebrand had synonymized C. cerdale and C. porosus. Their publication was so authoritative that the synonymy would not be challenged by most workers for more than 60 years, although Kato et al. (1967) were aware that C. cerdale was different from the Atlantic C. porosus. The name Carcharhinus cerdale Gilbert, in Jordan & Evermann, 1898, is resurrected here for the Pacific species.

Aqua International Journal of Ichthyology, Volume 17, Issue 1: 1-10.

" Squatina caillieti sp. nov., a new species of angel shark (Chondrichthyes: Squatiniformes: Squatinidae)
from the Philippine Islands "



A new species of angel shark, Squatina caillieti sp. nov., is described from a single specimen collected in deepwater off Luzon in the Philippines. The new species is closest to S. formosa and S. nebulosa, but differs from its congeners based on the following characters: unfringed barbels with rod-like tips, upper lip arch semi-oval in shape, large papillae present on the inside posterior margin of the spiracles, a greater interspiracle space than interorbital space, pelvic fin-tips which reach the first dorsal origin, a short pelvic fin base, short pelvic inner margin very short, and a short pelvic posterior margin; pelvic girdle span more than 1.4 times greater than head length; dorsal fins angular, greater interdorsal space than dorsal caudal space; caudal fin lobed, very short upper postventral caudal margin. The new species is the only Squatina confirmed as occurring in the Philippines. We also comment on the biogeography of western North Pacific Squatina and provide a revised regional key to this group.

Zootaxa 2759: 49–59 (2011)
PDF ( only the first papge ):


Rediscovery and description of the quagga shark, Halaelurus quagga (Alcock, 1899)
(Chondrichthyes: Scyliorhinidae) from the southwest coast of India

1Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, PB No. 1603. Cochin-682 018, Kerala. India
2Research Associate, Department of Aquatic Zoology, Western Australian Museum, Locked bag 49, Welshpool DC, Perth WA 6986,
3Corresponding author. E-mail:
The Quagga shark Halaelurus quagga (Alcock, 1899) is one of the poorest known scyliorhinid (Carcharhiniformes)
sharks of the world, described from a single specimen collected from the Arabian Sea coast of India (off Malabar). Since
its description, the only other published reports of this species are of specimens from Somalia. This paper reports on H.
quagga from Indian waters, more than 100 years after its description, and only the third report of specimens of this species
globally. A re-description of H. quagga is also provided based on the recent Indian specimens.
Key words: Rediscovery, Halaelurus quagga, Scyliorhinidae, Carcharhiniformes, Arabian Sea, India
Indian waters support a diverse chondrichthyan fauna consisting of more than 150 known species (Raje et al.,
2007; Akhilesh et al., in prep.), with the actual number probably being higher since there are no recent, exclusive
studies on this group from the region. Of the reported shark species, some have a geographic distribution range
restricted to the western Indian Ocean (Compagno et al., 2005).
The Scyliorhinidae (Carcharhiniformes) is one of the largest and diverse shark families with 17 genera, 146
recognized and described species, and at least 19 recognized but undescribed species to date (Human & D.A. Ebert,
unpub. data), which is continually expanding with several species being described since 2005 (Last et al., 2008;
Froese & Pauly, 2010). The Scyliorhinidae consist of very small sharks that have no commercial importance and
very rarely occur as bycatch in shark fisheries of India.
Ten scyliorhinid shark species are reported from the Arabian Sea, of which two belong to the genus Halaelurus:
H. boesemani, and H. quagga (Manilo & Bogorodsky, 2003; Human, in prep.). Compagno et al. (2005) recognised
that the occurrence of H. natalensis needed confirmation; however previous reports of H. natalensis from the
Arabian Sea are erroneous (Human, in prep.).
After the original description of H. quagga from the Arabian Sea coast of India (off Malabar), the only other
reports of H. quagga came from off Somalia (Springer & D’Aubrey, 1972; Springer, 1979). The holotype is the
only previously known specimen from India and this article presents the second report of H. quagga from Indian
waters, over 100 years after its description. This is also the first report of a female and egg case for the species, and
provides a re-description based on recent specimens collected from the southwest coast of India (Kerala coast),
which are deposited at the Marine Biodiversity Museum at the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute
(CMFRI), Cochin, Kerala.


Chimaera notafricana sp. nov. (Chondrichthyes: Chimaeriformes: Chimaeridae), a new species of chimaera from southern Africa
1Pacific Shark Research Center, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, 8272 Moss Landing Road, Moss Landing, CA 95039, USA.
2Research Associate, South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity, Private Bag 1015, Grahamstown, 6140, South Africa
3Research Associate, Department of Ichthyology, California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco, CA. 94118, USA
4Shark Research Center, Iziko – South African Museum, Cape Town, South Africa
5Department of Biology, Millersville University, P.O. Box 1002, Millersville, PA 17551 USA
A new species of chimaera, Chimaera notafricana sp. nov., is described from specimens collected off the west and south coasts of southern Africa. The new species is distinguished from its closest congener, the eastern North Atlantic Chimaera monstrosa, by a combination of morphometric characters and coloration: pectoral fin when depressed reaches to origin of pelvic fin base; caudal fin ventral margin terminating slightly posterior to caudal fin dorsal margin insertion; distance from anterior base of dorsal-fin spine to center of supratemporal canal short (6.5–14.8% HDL); pelvic claspers externally trifid and short (12.1–12.3% BDL), divided for distal one-third of length, not extending past distal tip of pelvic fins; uniform blackish brown with dark bluish streaking, precaudal tail with longitudinal light and dark stripes. This new species has a restricted distribution from Lüderitz, Namibia to south of Algoa Bay, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa.


Description of a new species of chimaerid, Chimaera bahamaensis from the Bahamas (Holocephali: Chimaeridae)

Authors: Kemper, Jenny M.; Ebert, David A.; Didier, Dominique A.; Compagno, Leonard J.V.

Source: Bulletin of Marine Science, Volume 86, Number 3, July 2010 , pp. 649-659(11)

Publisher: University of Miami - Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science



New species of ghostshark

Hydrolagus melanophasma

James, K.C., Ebert, D.A., Long, D.J. & Didier, D.A. (2009):

A new species of chimaera, Hydrolagus melanophasma sp. nov.
(Chondrichthyes: Chimaeriformes: Chimaeridae), from the eastern North Pacific.

A new species of chimaera, Hydrolagus melanophasma sp. nov. (Chimaeridae),
is described from the eastern North Pacific. It is distinct from other
eastern Pacific chimaeroids by the following characteristics: a large
slightly curved
dorsal fin spine extending beyond dorsal fin apex, a long second dorsal fin
of uniform height throughout, large pectoral fins extending beyond the
pelvic fin insertion when laid flat, trifid claspers forked for
approximately one-quarter the total clasper length and a uniform black
coloration throughout. The new species is compared to other eastern Pacific
members of the genus Hydrolagus including H. alphus, H. colliei, H.
macrophthalmus, and H. mccoskeri. Remote Operated
Vehicle (ROV) video footage has identified and documented Hydrolagus
melanophasma from the Gulf of California.
ROV observations suggest that individuals typically occur over soft-bottom
habitats or cobble patches with minimal vertical relief. This is in contrast
to other eastern Pacific Hydrolagus species that tend to occur in areas of
high rocky relief. The known distribution of this new species at present
extends from southern California, U.S.A., along the Pacific coast of Baja
California, Mexico, and into the Gulf of California.

Zootaxa 2218: 59–68 (2009).


New species of Frilled Shark

Chlamydoselachus africana

Paper published on July 31, 2009:
A new frilled shark species was discovered in African waters.

David Ebert and Leonard Compagno.

"Chlamydoselachus africana, a new species of frilled shark from southern Africa
(Chondrichthyes, Hexanchiformes, Chlamydoselachidae)"

Frilled sharks (Chondrichthyes, Hexanchiformes, Chlamydoselachidae), long
believed to be a monotypic family and genus, consisting of a single wide
ranging species, Chlamydoselachus anguineus (Garman, 1884), is now known to
contain at least two species. A new species of frilled shark,
Chlamydoselachus africana, sp. nov., is described from five specimens
collected from southern Africa. The new species, although difficult to
distinguish externally from the well known C. anguineus, differ internally
by the structural differences in the chondrocranium, lower total vertebral
and spiral valve counts, and pectoral-fin radial counts. The new species,
Chlamydoselachus africana, is known from off southern Angola, Namibia, and
South Africa.

Zootaxa 2173: 1–18 (2009).

New Skate Species

Notoraja sapphira


Seret and Last 2009:

"Notoraja sapphira sp. nov. (Rajoidei: Arhynchobatidae), a new deepwater skate
from the slopes of the Norfolk Ridge (South-West Pacific)".

A new arhynchobatid skate of the genus Notoraja is described from five
specimens collected on the slopes of the Norfolk
Ridge between 1195 and 1313 m depth. The new species is distinct from its
sibling species from southern Australian
waters, the Blue Skate (N. azurea), by its smaller size, several
morphometric and meristic characters, thorn pattern and
dorsal and ventral coloration.

Zootaxa 2153: 24–34.


Banded wobbegong elevated to species status.

The Banded wobbegong Orectolobus halei (originally described by Whitley in 1940) has been redescribed by Huveneers in 2006. It was previously considered to be the adult form of the Ornate Wobbegong Orectolobus ornatus.


Banded Wobbegong image Andy Murch


Banded wobbegong profile on Elasmodiver

Banded wobbegong images on Elasmodiver




Himantura kittipongi

New species of freshwater stingray discovered in Thailand

The Himantura Kittipongi freshwater stingray, found in the Maeklong Basin of western Thailand
© WWF Cannon Thailand

13 Apr 2006

Bangkok, Thailand – A new species of freshwater stingray has been discovered in a river in western Thailand, but its chances for long-term survival are slim, warns WWF.

The new species of stingray, measuring 60 centimeters (23.6 inches) in width, was first observed two years ago but has only now been confirmed in detail as a new species by researchers from WWF Thailand and the US-based Smithsonian Institute.

WWF Thailand’s Senior Freshwater Biologist, Dr Chavalit Vidthayanon, along with Smithsonian Research Associate Dr Tyson Roberts, have described in detail the new freshwater stingray, known as Himantura kittipongi, found in the Mekong Basin of western Thailand.

Thai rivers, including the Mekong River where the ray is found, have been plagued by serious pollution, overfishing and dam building, which have taken a deadly toll on Thailand's once diverse and abundant river life. The ray is believed to exist in only small numbers.

The new species was named Himantura kittipong after prominent Thai fish expert Kittipong Jaruthanin who first observed the ray in 2004.

For more information:
Radda Larpnun, Communications Manager
WWF Thailand

Sphyrna sp.


Previously unknown species of hammerhead shark discovered

Knight Ridder Newspapers

MIAMI - Scientists from Nova Southeastern University and the University of
South Carolina have discovered a previously unknown species of hammerhead
shark in the southeastern Atlantic.

The species - as yet unnamed - so closely resembles the scalloped hammerhead
(Sphyrna lewini) that the only ways to tell them apart are to compare DNA and
count vertebrae.

Mahmood Shivji, director of the Guy Harvey Research Institute at the NSU
Oceanographic Center in Dania Beach, says the two species share the same
waters but do not interbreed. Shivji adds that the cryptic, or unrecognized
species, may be less abundant than the scalloped, making it more susceptible
to fishing pressure.

''They're catching these things they don't know they're catching,'' Shivji
said. ``You could wipe out a whole genetic lineage if you are not managing
these species separately.''

Hammerhead sharks, of which there are believed to be eight species, occur
worldwide. In U.S. waters, hammerheads are managed under the umbrella of 11
large coastal shark species - not including those on the federal prohibited
species list. Commercial fishing for large coastal sharks is regulated through
seasons and quotas.

The practice of finning - cutting off a shark's fins and discarding the
carcass - is illegal in the United States but widely practiced around the
world because fins are believed to have aphrodisiacal and medical benefits.
Hammerheads are particularly vulnerable because their fins are worth hundreds
of dollars per kilogram at markets in the Far East, while their meat is much
less valued. As a result, hammerhead abundance in the western Atlantic is
believed to have declined by 89 percent since the mid-1980s, according to a
study by researchers at Canada's Dalhousie University published in the journal
Science in 2003.


Shivji and his NSU colleagues are at the forefront of using genetics to
identify sharks exploited in the international fin trade, which is how they
stumbled on the previously unknown species of hammerhead. In trying to develop
a DNA forensic marker for scalloped hammerheads, they collected 143 samples of
Sphyrna lewini from around the world. They were puzzled to find that the test
worked on all the sharks except for three, which were caught by recreational
anglers off Fort Lauderdale.

At first, the scientists thought something was wrong with their forensic
marker. But more extensive testing on the three South Florida sharks showed
their DNA was completely different from all other scalloped hammerheads caught
locally and around the world, suggesting a separate species.

''The genetic difference is greater between the new cryptic species and the
regular scalloped hammerhead than between the geographically separate
populations of the scalloped hammerhead,'' Shivji said.


The startling discovery didn't create much of a stir at first. But
coincidentally, scientists at the University of South Carolina came to the
same conclusion, using genetic testing to separate eight anomalous sharks
caught in their coastal waters. In a paper published online last December,
they suggested that bays in their state serve as nurseries for the cryptic
species, and should be protected. Intense fishing pressure, they warned, could
imperil both the scalloped hammerhead and the new species.

The scientists wrote: ``Concentrated reproduction in South Carolina coastal
waters also could increase the risk of extinction of the cryptic species. . .
. Data on the geographic distribution and relative abundance of both scalloped
hammerhead species is critical at this juncture and should be used to evaluate
current management plans.''

It is too soon to tell how the discovery of the previously unknown hammerhead
could affect shark management. NOAA Fisheries research biologist Enric Cortes,
who prepares shark-stock assessments for the U.S. east coast, calls the news
``shocking -- it will be another curveball that will be thrown at us.''

Cortes says it will be difficult to separate the new hammerhead in stock
assessments because it can only be recognized genetically. More likely, it
would be lumped with the other large coastal sharks.

Meanwhile, Shivji said, more research is required to count and describe it.

Said Shivji: ``This is the next project that needs to be done: What population
of scalloped hammerheads are the new cryptic species? Someone has to do the
taxonomy on this and give it a name.''


Mustelus hacat

Pérez Jiménez, Juan Carlos, Nishizaki, Oscar Sosa, Castillo Geniz, José Leonardo
A New Eastern North Pacific Smoothhound Shark (Genus Mustelus, Family Triakidae) from the Gulf of California
Copeia 2005 2005: 834-845


MEXICO: March 3, 2006

MEXICO CITY - A Mexican marine biologist has discovered a new shark species in the murky depths of Mexico's Sea of Cortez, the first new shark find in the wildlife-rich inlet in 34 years.

Postgraduate student Juan Carlos Perez was on a fishing boat in early 2003 studying sharks from the Mustelus family netted at depths of 660 feet (200 meters) when he noticed some of them had darker skin and white markings.
The sharks, slender, dark gray-brown and around 5 feet (1.5 meters) long, turned out to be a new species that Perez and his team have named "Mustelus hacat," after the word for shark in a local Indian dialect.

"What I first noticed was their color. They are dark in color, like dark coffee, and have white markings on the tips and edges of their fins and tails which jump out at you because they are so dark," Perez told Reuters on Thursday.

"I got back from the boat and the first thing I said was that I thought I had a new species, but I wasn't sure until six months on when we did genetic tests," he said, audibly elated.

Perez studied around 40 of the sharks from 2003 to 2005.

Worldwide, marine biologists tend to discover two or three new shark species in any given year.

But Perez's find -- bringing to five the types of Mustelus shark found in the eastern North Pacific -- is the first shark discovery in the Sea of Cortez since the tiny Mexican Horn Shark (Heterodontus mexicanus) was identified in 1972.

"I wasn't looking for something new, but it's very satisfying. I'm very happy," said Perez, 31, who is based at the CICESE science and technology research center at the port of Ensenada in northwestern Baja California state.

His find was published in the US journal Copeia in December.

"There must be more undiscovered species there but access is difficult. If we hadn't been on those boats I'd never have seen them because that's the only place they are caught. And it's not a region that attracts scuba diving."

There are some 50 to 60 species of shark in the Sea of Cortez, a narrow body of water also known as the Gulf of California that separates Mexico's Baja California peninsula from the mainland and is famous for its rich and unique ecosystem.

The Mustelus hacat lives in the ocean's depths feeding on shellfish and shrimp," Perez said, adding: "They have very, very small teeth. They are really not aggressive or dangerous."





Hemigaleus australiensis


AUSTRALIA: Nov 7th 2005

New species of shark discovered in Australia

Scientists have described a new species of shark in the waters of northern Australia.
The new Weasel shark has just been named Hemigaleus australiensis in a paper in the systematics journal Zootaxa, and is only the second known member of the genus.

The description, written by William White of Murdoch University, Perth, Peter Last of CSIRO and Leonard Compagno of the Shark Research Centre, Cape Town, says that the new Hemigaleus species differs from its congener, H. microstoma, in the presence of a black mark on the tip of the second dorsal fin, as well as having far fewer vertebrae and lots more teeth on its lower jaw.

The new fish Hemigaleus australiensis, which is a member of the Carcharhiniformes family Hemigaleidae, is known from inshore bays on the continental shelves of northern Australia and lives in water up to 170m/557’ deep.

Its closest relative, H. microstoma, commonly known as the the Weasel shark or Sicklefin weasel shark, is a small and slender species roughly the same shape and size as the Smooth hound sharks, Mustelus spp. native to UK waters, which reaches around 1m/39” in length.

H. microstoma is relatively common in the waters around Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore and has paler fins often with white spots on the tips of the fins and the flanks. It lacks the black mark seen on the second dorsal of australiensis.

H. microstoma feeds on crustaceans and cephalopods, particularly octopuses, and is often caught as a food species.

For more details on the new shark species see the paper: White, WT., Last, PR. and JV Compagno (2005) – Description of a new species of weasel shark, Hemigaleus australiensis n. sp. (Carchariniformes: Hemigaleidae) from Australian waters. Zootaxa 1077: 37-49.

Matt Clarke: Mon November 7, 2005, 3:12 pm

Pastinachus solocirostris


New stingray described

A new species of marine stingray has been described from the waters of the Indo Malay archipelago.
The new fish, which has been named Pastinachus solocirostris, has just been described by Peter Last, Mabel Manjaji and Gordon Yearsley in a paper in the systematics journal Zootaxa.
Pastinachus solocirostris is a member of the Dasyatidae family and sits in the Order Mylobatiformes.
The genus Pastinachus was previously considered to be monotypic, with a single representative species, P. sephen, occuring across a wide area of the Indo Pacific from the Red Sea to China.
However, recent studies have found a number of distinct fishes in the genus and it seems likely that many names that have previously been placed into synonymy will be raised to specific status once again.
The new ray was discovered in Indonesia and Malaysian Borneo but appears to occur mainly in muddy waters and estuaries off Borneo and Sumatra.
Unlike other members of the genus, P. solocirostris has a smaller adult size, a more elongate head and disc shape, fewer pectoral fin radials and vertebrae and a sting closer to the end of its tail.
For more details on the new stingray species see the paper: Last, PR., Manjaji, BM and GK Yearsley (2005) - Pastinachus solocirostris sp. nov., a new species of Stingray (Elasmobranchii: Mylobatiformes) from the Indo-Malay Archipelago. Zootaxa 1040: 1-16.
Matt Clarke: Tue September 27, 2005, 8:42 am
















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