A new character for Pokémon? Novel endemic dogfish shark species discovered from Japan

June 11, 2020

Newly discovered creatures can often be as impressive and exciting as the ones from the Japanese movies and shows. Many of those fictional characters, including inhabitants of the famous Pokémon universe, might have their analogues among the real animals native to Japan. Maybe, a new species of the dogfish shark published in the open-access journal Zoosystematics and Evolution is also "a real Pokémon" to be?

A new deep-water dogfish shark: Squalus shiraii, was discovered in the tropical waters of Southern Japan by an international team of scientists, led by Dr. Sarah Viana from South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity.

The new shark has the body length of 59-77 cm and some unique characteristics such as tall first dorsal fin and caudal fin with broad white margins. Currently, the species is known exclusively as a Japanese endemic, occurring in the tropical shallow waters of Southern Japan in the North-western Pacific.

Spurdogs represent commercially important for the world fish trade taxa. They are caught for a range of purposes: consumption of meat, fins and liver oil. Despite their high occurrence, the accurate identification data of species is scarce, population threats and trends remain unknown.

Japan currently represents one of the world's leading shark fish trade countries, though, during the last decades the amount of shark catches is decreasing and over 78 elasmobranch species traded in Japanese shark fin markets are now evaluated as threatened.

The new species Squalus shiraii previously used to be massively misidentified with shortspine spurdog, due to the resembling shape of body, fins and snout length. However, there are some differences, defining the specificity of the new species.

"Squalus shiraii has body brown in colour, postventral and preventral caudal margins whitish, dorsal and ventral caudal tips broadly white and black upper caudal blotch evident in adults. S. mitsukurii has body conspicuously black to dark grey and caudal fins black throughout with post-ventral caudal margin fairly whitish and black upper caudal blotch not evident in adults", shares lead author Dr. Viana.

Scientists propose the name for the newly described species as Shirai's spurdog in honor to Dr. Shigeru Shirai, the former Japanese expert of the group.
-end-
Original source:

Viana STFL, Carvalho MR (2020) Squalus shiraii sp. nov. (Squaliformes, Squalidae), a new species of dogfish shark from Japan with regional nominal species revisited. Zoosystematics and Evolution 96(2): 275-311. https://doi.org/10.3897/zse.96.51962

Pensoft Publishers

Related Shark Articles from Brightsurf:

Fossil shark turns in to mystery pterosaur
Lead author of the project, University of Portsmouth PhD student Roy Smith, discovered the mystery creature amongst fossil collections housed in the Sedgwick Museum of Cambridge and the Booth Museum at Brighton that were assembled when phosphate mining was at its peak in the English Fens between 1851 and 1900.

Body size of the extinct Megalodon indeed off the charts in the shark world
A new study shows that the body size of the iconic gigantic or megatooth shark, about 15 meters (50 feet) in length, is indeed anomalously large compared to body sizes of its relatives.

New shark research targets a nearly endangered species
They are some of the most iconic and unique-looking creatures in our oceans.

True size of prehistoric mega-shark finally revealed
A new study led by the University of Bristol and Swansea University has revealed the size of the legendary giant shark Megalodon, including fins that are as large as an adult human.

Between shark and ray: The evolutionary advantage of the sea angels
Angel sharks are sharks, but with their peculiarly flat body they rather resemble rays.

Great white shark diet surprises scientists
The first-ever detailed analysis of the diet of great white sharks has shown they spend more time feeding at the seafloor than many would have expected.

First fossil nursery of the great white shark discovered
An international research team led by Jaime A. VillafaƱa from the Institute of Palaeontology at the University of Vienna discovered the first fossil nursery area of the great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias in Chile.

Giant teenage shark from the Dinosaur-era
Scientists of the University of Vienna examined parts of a vertebral column, which was found in northern Spain in 1996, and assigned it to the extinct shark group Ptychodontidae.

Shark and ray vision comes into focus
Until now, little has been known about the evolution of vision in cartilaginous fishes, particularly sharks and their genetic cousins, the rays.

Ocean acidification is damaging shark scales
Sharks have unusual type of scales referred to as 'denticles.' A research group from South Africa and Germany that includes Jacqueline Dziergwa and Professor Dr.

Read More: Shark News and Shark Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.