New shark species

THERE are new predators in the waters off the Coffs Coast, but don't be alarmed - what's new about them is their names.

The CSIRO have recently completed an ambitious project to name and describe more than 100 new species of sharks and rays in Australian waters.

Among the species found in NSW waters are the Pinocchio Catshark, the Whitefin Swellshark, the Black Ghostshark and the Eastern Angel Shark.

More than 90 of the new species were identified but undescribed in 1994, and the new project has named almost a tenth of the world's shark and ray species.

CSIRO team leader, Dr Peter Last, said analysis of DNA sequences was used to clarify the identity of closely related species.

“Information like this is critical to managing sharks and rays, which reproduce relatively slowly and are extremely vulnerable to over-fishing and other human impacts,” Dr Last said.

The new names and descriptions will feature in a revised edition of Dr Last's and Dr John Stevens' book Sharks and Rays of Australia, to be released in 2009.



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