Scientists conducting deep-sea dives around the Galapagos Islands have identified a new species of shark. Part of a family known as a catsharks, the new species is about 1.3 feet long, roughly the same size as a typical housecat.
Catsharks (also sometimes known as dogfishes) are one of the largest families of sharks. The new species — named Bythaelurus giddingsi — was identified from seven specimens during two submersible treks in 1995 and 1998. Researchers have suggested the Galapagos Catshark as the common name of the new species.
The seven specimens were taken to the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, where scientists compared them to other known catsharks. B. giddingsi individuals are chocolate-brown and have pale, leopard-like spots randomly distributed on their body. This distinguishes them from other closely related species, which are typically dusky or possess a straight line of spots.