Australian scientists from the Australian National Ichthyological Collection have discovered a new species of shark, which has been named Apristurus ovicorrugatus. This species is characterized by an unusual egg capsule and iridescent eyes resembling those of cats.
The first unusual egg capsule was discovered about 40 years ago, but then it was not possible to determine which shark species it belonged to. In 2011, scientists re-examined the find and concluded that the capsule with T-shaped ridges did not resemble any of the known types of shark eggs. However, it wasn’t until 2017 that scientists discovered a museum specimen of a female cat shark with a distinctive ribbed egg inside. This allowed scientists to attribute the shark to a new species.
One of the features of this new species of shark is the unique shape of the egg capsules. Scientists believe that this ribbed shape adds strength to the walls of the capsules and helps protect the embryos from predators and parasites. Sea snails, for example, are dangerous enemies to shark embryos, so developing this protective shape may be key to survival for feline sharks.
Scientists have also drawn attention to the features of the eyes of the new shark species. They have white irises that shine similarly to the eyes of cats. This is a unique trait and distinguishes Apristurus ovicorrugatus from other shark species.
The researchers believe that the discovery of the new shark species is an important step in understanding the diversity of marine life and evolution. They note that many shark species still remain unknown and require further research.