In February 2016, Maria Lombard stumbled upon something unusual at Waitarere: the remains of... well, something. While most people wondered if this belonged to some sort of dragon, Te Papa got on the case to correctly identify the animal: the endemic smooth skate, Dipturus innominatus.
The Spotted Ratfish (Hydrolagus colliei) is one of 36 species of shortnose chimaeras (learn more about the different families of chimaeras here), getting its common name from its long, thin tail which resembles that of a rat. The Spotted Ratfish is normally found swimming near the seafloor below depths of 330 ft (100 m) during the day, yet at night it has been observed at shallower depths.
The blacktip shark (Carcharhinus limbatus) is a sleek grey/blue on the dorsal side and contrasting white below, a white band across their flank, with black markings on the tips of its fins. They do not have black markings on their pelvic fins. They usually get no bigger than 1.5 m (about 5 ft).
According to genetic analyses, there is a variation in the black tip shark—a population in the western Atlantic Ocean has been confirmed isolated from the rest in the surrounding area. They’re quite cosmopolitan, seen in shallow, tropical areas as well as offshore. Blacktip sharks are aggressive when hungry, known to swim in the surf off the beaches looking for schooling fish. There are documented bites on humans, however none are fatal. They feed mainly on schooling fish, yet are known to occasionally dine on other sharks.
TFUI Founder Melissa C. Marquez is author of all animal bios and "Behind the Fins" segments.
SEE MELISSA'S TEDx TALK HERE:
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