If you didn’t know it, TFUI founder Melissa’s husband is from Southern USA. Back when they were dating, he was living in South Carolina. So it was no wonder that Josh passed along the news about the newly-discovered Carolina Hammerhead to Melissa ASAP.
The story behind the Carolina Hammerhead is rather interesting, as it was just thought to be a scalloped hammerhead (S. lewini). Back in 2000 (17 years ago—oh jeez, we feel old), Dr. William Driggers, was sampling for sharks in, you guessed in, good ole’ South Carolina. Dr. Driggers was collecting tissues from various shark species for Dr. Joseph Quattro’s genetic work. Dr. Quattro is a professor at the Marine Science Program and Department of Biological Sciences at the University of South Carolina (fun fact: Melissa applied to this same department before choosing to go to New Zealand), and had been in the middle of characterizing the population genetics of fish in South Carolina.
When TFUI was Sarasota Fins, we introduced “Penny,” our female spokes-shark from the Hemiscylliidae family. The epaulette shark (Hemiscyllium ocellatum) is a long-tailed carpet shark that is also known as the blind shark; they differ from Brachaelurus waddi (check out their bio here). These sharks are found in the western Pacific Ocean around New Guinea and northern Australia (think Shark Bay to Newcastle). They may even reside in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Solomon islands (but there are no confirmed reports yet).
Penny and her family like to be found in shallow water coral reefs, staying in the 0-50 m zone (0-164 ft). They are found in tide pools, trapped by receding tides. Don’t worry though, they always return back to the sea. And they’re well adapted to survive while waiting to be reunited: they turn off non-essential body functions. In fact, one study determined blood pressure dropped 50% in a hypoxic environment (low-oxygen habitat).
The Fins United Initiative is excited to bring the "Underrated Elasmobranch Spotlight" series through TFUI officer Jess Myers. Learn about the sharks not shown on the big screen through her beautiful artwork!
TFUI Founder Melissa C. Marquez is author of all animal bios and "Behind the Fins" segments.
SEE MELISSA'S TEDx TALK HERE:
SEARCH BY CATEGORIES