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New "Walking Shark" Species Identified Off Indonesia

posted 10 Sept 2013, 05:03 by Mpelembe   [ updated 10 Sept 2013, 05:04 ]

A new species of epaulette shark has been discovered in waters off a remote Indonesian island. Officially called Hemiscyllium halamhera, the shark was first seen by divers in 2008 as it "walked" along the sea floor, but has only now been identified as a new species.

OFF HALMAHERA, INDONESIA (CONSERVATION INTERNATIONAL/MV ERDMANN) - Discovered off the remote Indonesian Island of Halmahera, the new species of epaulette shark forages for food using its pectoral and pelvic fins to walk across reefs or along the sea floor.

It's a small shark that inhabits a narrow range in shallow water, feeding on smaller fish and crustaceans. It's one of nine species of so-called walking shark, found only

in waters off Indonesia.

Researchers from Conservation International and the Western Australian Museum, who were involved in the discovery, say the find is important to conservation efforts in Indonesia.

The country is trying to raise awareness of its unique marine ecosystems to bring tourists to the country, while also trying to protect and maintain healthy fish stocks.