New type of shark discovered in US waters

A new type of hammerhead shark has been discovered in the northwestern Atlantic Ocean, marine scientists say.

The shark resembles a common species called the scalloped hammerhead but has not yet been classified or named. US researchers say the animal appears to be rare, breeding only in waters off the South Carolina coast.

They believe the shark is at risk of extinction and conservation efforts are needed to protect females when they are raising their pups. The shark was discovered by a biology professor at the University of South Carolina, reports Zee News.

Joe Quattro, a biology professor at the University of South Carolina, worked with Jim Grady of the University of New Orleans and Trey Driggers of the National Marine Fisheries Service in making the find.

Quattro discovered the new species while studying along the coast with biologists from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

Quattro and his colleagues found that genes in the mitochondrial DNA - the DNA passed from mother sharks to their offspring - differed significantly among sharks that were classified as scalloped hammerhead sharks.

The studies also revealed that another independent genetic marker differed substantially between the two groups of scalloped hammerheads.

"This cryptic shark was genetically distinct," said Quattro, whose research was published recently in the journal, Marine Biology, informs Seattle Post Intelligencer.


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