Two new species of bamboo sharks (Orectolobiformes: Hemiscylliidae) from Western New Guinea

Gerald R. Allen and Mark V. Erdmann

aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology, pp. 93-108, Volume 13, Issue 3-4 – 23 January 2008


Two new species of hemiscylliid sharks are described from the Bird’s Head region of western New Guinea (Papua Barat Province, Indonesia). They differ from congeners on the basis of both colour patterns and DNA composition. Hemiscyllium galei is described from two specimens, 542.5-567.5 mm TL, collected at Cenderawasih Bay. The species is similar in appearance to H. freycineti, reported from areas immediately westward including the Raja Ampat Islands. The new species differs from H. freycineti in possessing white lines and spots along the margin of the large, dark dorsal saddles as well as scattered white spots, mainly on the upper side. In addition, H. galei is characterised by a row of about seven well-defined, horizontally-ovate, dark spots on the lower side between the abdomen and caudal-fin base. Hemiscyllium henryi is described from three specimens, 564.0-815.0 mm TL, collected in the vicinity of Triton Bay. It is most similar in general appearance to H. ocellatum from northern Australia, but differs in the structure of the post-cephalic ocellus (usually a pair of merged “twin-ocelli” with a poorly defined white halo) and possesses well-defined dark brown saddles/bars along the back and dorsal margin of the caudal fin as well as a dark spot at the origin of the pectoral and pelvic fins. A final difference concerns the presence of numerous small brown spots on the dorsal fins of H. ocellatum, in contrast to the mainly spotless pattern on the dorsal fins of H. henryi.

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