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New deep sea shark species found, first in India since 2011

New deep-sea shark species has been found in the northern Indian Ocean, the first such discovery in India since the Mangalore houndshark in 2011.

india Updated: Nov 24, 2018 07:10 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
deep sea,shark species,Mangalore houndshark
The Pygmy false catshark is about 65cm long and dark brown in colour without any prominent pattern. (HT Photo)

New deep-sea shark species has been found in the northern Indian Ocean, the first such discovery in India since the Mangalore houndshark in 2011.

The Pygmy false catshark is about 65cm long and dark brown in colour without any prominent pattern.

“It is a new addition to deep-water marine fauna of India, which is yet to be explored completely in its diversity,” said Mumbai-based K V Akhilesh of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI).

The new species was found off the southwestern coast of India and north of Sri Lanka. Its scientific name is Planonasus indicus – ‘planus’ meaning flat and ‘nasus’ meaning nose. The discovery was made by a team of scientists from the US and Germany, and included Akhilesh. The findings have been published in a research journal on marine biodiversity from the Senckenberg Research Institute, Germany.

Akhilesh told HT there was only one other species from this genus – the Dwarf false catshark (planonasus parini). “Deep-sea sharks such as this have flat heads and this shark is known to move as deep as 800 to 1,000 metres underwater,” he said.

“This species did not have an oral papillae (dermal tissue in the mouth), nor a distinct white mark near the dorsal fin, sides and underside of the head, which the Dwarf false catshark does. There is a difference in the way fins are also shaped.”

The new species was first observed on April 26, 2008, when it was caught in fishing nets in Kochi, Kerala. On March 15, 2018, a second specimen of the same species was caught by fishermen off the coast of Trincomalee in Sri Lanka.

First Published: Nov 24, 2018 06:58 IST