Ocean News

New Species of Cartilaginous Fishes (Chondrichthyes)

16th April 2009

Last month Dr Leonard Compagno and Lesley Rochat attended the Ocean Film Festival in San Francisco, USA. While Lesley promoted the SOSSC educational and awareness initiatives, Dr Compagno made contact with many fellow scientists.  Whilst at the Moss Landing Marine Labs in Montery Bay, Dr Compagno, Dr Dave Ebert, and a student of his, discovered a new chimaera species from the Caribbean, which is also probably found off the east coast of United States.  This animal is related to the St Joseph’s shark from South Africa, however it differs in coloration, body structure and measurements.  It is a deep water animal probably found in depths of over 200 metres. It is surmised that it uses its crushing jaws to eat crustaceans, bottom invertebrates etc.

A new species of angel shark, scientific generic name: squatina, was discovered in the Phillippines.  This species is estimated to grow anywhere between 60 cm to 200cm in length.

A new species of torpedo ray was discovered off the coast of South Africa.  Originally it was thought to be the same as the north Atlantic species, but it isn’t.  Dr Compagno says that this electric ray, about 1m in length when fully grown, can shock quite severely and could cause heart seizures. He therefore advises: "Don’t mess with a torpedo ray or it will mess with you!"