A new species of whaler shark from the Western Central Pacific

Published on 02. January 2019

Lost before found: A new species of whaler shark Carcharhinus obsolerus from the Western Central Pacific known only from historic records

William T. White, Peter M. Kyne, Mark Harris

Carcharhinus obsolerus is described based on three specimens from Borneo, Thailand and Vietnam in the Western Central Pacific. It belongs to the porosus subgroup which is characterised by having the second dorsal-fin insertion opposite the anal-fin midbase. It most closely resembles C. borneensis but differs in tooth morphology and counts and a number of morphological characters, including lack of enlarged hyomandibular pores which are diagnostic of C. borneensis. The historic range of C. obsolerus sp. nov. is under intense fishing pressure and this species has not been recorded anywhere in over 80 years. There is an urgent need to assess its extinction risk status for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. With so few known records, there is a possibility that Carcharhinus obsolerus sp. nov. has been lost from the marine environment before any understanding could be gained of its full historic distribution, biology, ecosystem role, and importance in local fisheries.

PLoS ONE 14(1): e0209387. DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0209387


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