New hammerhead shark species discovery in Belize


This video says about itself:

5 February 2017

Scientists have discovered a new population of miniature sharks off the coast of Belize. The bonnethead, a small species of hammerhead shark, can be found in many spots around the Caribbean. However, the new shark is an entirely different species based on large genetic differences between them and other bonnetheads. Bonnethead sharks are commercially fished in the United States, throughout the Caribbean and in South America. The recording of the new shark was reportedly made during a 2016 shark tagging expedition.

From The Reporter in Belize:

New hammerhead shark species found in Belize

Posted by The Reporter newspaper on February 9, 2017 at 10:42 am

By Benjamin Flowers

Shark researchers have discovered a new species of shark in Belize.

Researchers from Florida International University (FIU) were conducting DNA sequencing on bonnet head sharks, a species of hammer head sharks, when they made the discovery.

The bonnet head shark is found in the Caribbean, Latin America, and the United States; however, the DNA of the species found in Belize did not match that of the bonnet heads found anywhere else. The bonnet heads found in Belize, which have yet to be named, have the same physical appearance as its counterparts within the region, but have large genetic differences.

Evaluating the DNA analysis conducted by Andrew Fields from Stony Brook University, FIU researchers estimated that the bonnet head sharks around the nation stopped interbreeding with those from Mexico, the United States and the Bahamas several million years ago.

Demian Chapman, lead researcher on the team that made the discovery, said that the find raises concerns about the sustainability measures in place to keep the species from extinction. While the bonnet head is ranked at “Least Concern” for extinction risk by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the union made the classification assuming there was a single species of bonnet head.

“Now we have to define the range of each of these species individually and assess them independently against where the potential threats are,” Chapman said.

Chapman who is currently leading a shark survey project called Global Finprint, believes that the discovery could be the door way to finding even more new species of sharks.

Global Finprint is an initiative seeking to determine the cause for the decreasing number of sharks and rays.

A coastal zone management plan designed to safeguard Belize’s natural assets has produced a win-win opportunity for people and the environment, providing a valuable framework for other coastal nations around the world where overfishing, development, and habitat degradation are increasingly serious problems: here.

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4 thoughts on “New hammerhead shark species discovery in Belize

  1. Pingback: Blacktip shark saved from fishing line | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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