Add this one to: What animals do when we’re not around:
“At less than a metre long on average, walking sharks present no threat to people but their ability to withstand low oxygen environments and walk on their fins gives them a remarkable edge over their prey of small crustaceans and molluscs,” Dr Dudgeon said.
“These unique features are not shared with their closest relatives the bamboo sharks or more distant relatives in the carpet shark order including wobbegongs and whale sharks.
The four new species almost doubled the total number of known walking sharks to nine.
Dr Dudgeon said they live in coastal waters around northern Australia and the island of New Guinea, and occupy their own separate region…
“Data suggests the new species evolved after the sharks moved away from their original population, became genetically isolated in new areas and developed into new species,” she said.
“They may have moved by swimming or walking on their fins, but it’s also possible they ‘hitched’ a ride on reefs moving westward across the top of New Guinea, about two million years ago.University of Queensland, “Walking sharks discovered in the tropics” at ScienceDaily
One wonders, is it possible that a number of other species of shark could convert to “walking” if they had to? That is, they don’t need to evolve the trait from scratch; they need the circumstances that makes it a useful behavior.
Here’s another walking shark, the epaulette:
See also: What animals do when we’re not around (cougars).
What bears do when we’re not around