A walking shark, which uses its fins like legs, has just been discovered taking a stroll off a remote Indonesian island, according to the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries.
Scientists from Conservation International and the Western Australian Museum made the unusual find. Their timing could not have been better.
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"The epaulette (long-tailed carpet) shark, Hemiscyllium halmahera, uses its fins to walk across the ocean floor in search of small fish and crustaceans," Emmeline Johansen of Conservation International's Asia Pacific Field Division, told Discovery News.
"The discovery comes at a time when Indonesia is significantly ramping up its efforts to protect shark and ray species that are now considered vulnerable to extinction, including whale sharks and manta rays."
The shark, which sports distinctive spots over most of its narrow body, lives in waters off of the eastern Indonesian island of Halmahera. Females lay small egg cases under coral ledges. The baby sharks hatch, coming into the world small, and generally lead a sedentary life with very limited dispersal.