Fiji Time: 1:30 AM on Friday 19 December

Fiji Times Logo

/ Front page / Features

Scientists discover hybrid sharks

The Australian
Monday, January 16, 2012

SCIENTISTS have found the world's first hybrid sharks in Australian waters.

Leading researchers in marine biology discovered 57 animals along a 2000 km stretch from Queensland to NSW.

The predators are a cross between the common blacktip shark and Australian blacktip shark, two related but genetically distinct species.

The scientists say interbreeding between the two shark species is a sign the animals are adapting to climate change.

They also warn that hybridisation could make the sharks stronger.

Dr Jennifer Ovenden, of the Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, said: "Hybridization could enable the sharks to adapt to environmental change as the smaller Australian black tip currently favours tropical waters in the north while the larger common black tip is more abundant in sub-tropical and temperate waters along the south-eastern Australian coastline."

She added: "Wild hybrids are usually hard to find, so detecting hybrids and their offspring is extraordinary. To find 57 hybrids along 2000km of coastline is unprecedented."

Dr Jess Morgan, a researcher at the University of Queensland researcher, told The Australian that it was unusual for sharks to breed in this way.

"Sharks physically mate, which is usually a good way to make sure you don't hybridize with the wrong species," she said.

Colin Simpfendorfer, of James Cook University's Fishing and Fisheries Research Centre, said: "The results of this research show that we still have a lot to learn about these important ocean predators."





Fiji Times Front Page Thumbnail

Kaila Front Page ThumbnailFiji Times & Kaila Frontpage PDF Downloads

Use the free Acrobat Reader to view.

Today's Most Read Stories

  1. Justice and sleep at last
  2. Court told of baby's tragic end
  3. Rugby star's emotional celebration with children
  4. Kolinisau: Team was fit
  5. Kalouniwai for top job
  6. Muslim league condemns Sydney crisis
  7. Call to clarify action
  8. Kunatani, Tuwai to return in next leg
  9. Back to the roots
  10. Christmas gifts bring smiles

Top Stories this Week

  1. 7s TV saga Friday (12 Dec)
  2. Under investigation Friday (12 Dec)
  3. TV pair sent home Wednesday (17 Dec)
  4. My boy, my hero Monday (15 Dec)
  5. Justice and sleep at last Thursday (18 Dec)
  6. She's gone but the pain stays Tuesday (16 Dec)
  7. Debate on Bill No. 28 Friday (12 Dec)
  8. TERROR ALERT Gunmen strike Sydney cafe Tuesday (16 Dec)
  9. Clan leader calls for harsher penalties Wednesday (17 Dec)
  10. Five-try Fiji forge Plate final berth Monday (15 Dec)