The shark, called Hemiscyllium halmahera, reportedly uses its four fins to wriggle across the seabed hunting for small crustaceans and fish rather than swimming like a more, um, conventional (?) species of shark.
Hemiscyllium halmahera, named after the island which it was found near, was identified by scientists from Conservation International (CI). Spokesperson Mark Erdmann told the Jakarta Post that this new species of walking shark is entirely different to any other species of shark he’d ever seen.
“This shark is harmless and it does not swim but walks like a gecko. It doesn’t have typical shark teeth, either; it has teeth to crush small shelled animals,” said Mark Erdmann.
Oh, that sounds sort of sweet… in a sharky kind of way.
Mr Erdmann said that while the shark could swim, it wasn’t particularly swift and only swam when it felt threatened.
The Jakarta Post report on the story also makes it fairly clear that this is not the first species of walking shark ever found – so I figured I should probably mention that nugget of information too. Indeed, it is apparently the third separate species found in six years.
Marine biologists claim that there are over 50,000 walking sharks also plodding around in the shallow waters off the coast of Northern Australia. They aren’t considered dangerous to human beings, although I’m sure they’d give you a nip if you stepped on one of them.
So, there you go. New walking shark species – Jaws dropping stuff… Get it?