The new species was named Coloredhorns (Eng. Coloredhorns, Latin Heterodontus marshallae), and was described in Research article in Diversity Journal.
It belongs to the order of sharks Heterodontiformes, which is distinguished by its unique body shape and small horns protruding above the eyes, which is why it was mistaken for a zebra-headed shark.
Professor Will White of the ANFC says: press release.
“Despite the similarities in appearance, Heterodontus marshallae is more genetically related to the Port Jackson shark, Heterodontus portusjacksoni.”
But while the zebra-headed shark lives in shallow waters in Indonesia and northern Japan, the colored horned shark lives off northwest Australia in waters 125 to 229 meters deep.
Strange set of teeth
Another thing that the painted shark has in common with the zebrafish is its unique set of teeth.
All sharks have rows of shark-like teeth in the front, but rows of human-like cheek teeth are in the back, which distinguishes them from other sharks.
This means that they have large jaws in relation to their skull, which allows them to eat mollusks and crush crustaceans with their cheek teeth.
It was the November 2022 capture of a male painted shark, which researchers at Gascoigne Marine Park in Western Australia examined aboard the research vessel Investigator, that determined they had found a new species.
They have already examined six females and an egg case that indicated it may be a new species on the way.
But because the males have unique genitalia for each species, they were able to determine that the painted shark was a new species after examining the 53-centimetre male.
Horn sharks are of interest to many marine biologists because they are so different from other shark species.
“This arrangement of sharks resembles fossils of long-extinct sharks because of their morphology, including spines. But we now know they are not closely related,” ANFC researcher Helen O’Neill explains in the news release.
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