The world’s first hybrid shark – a cross between two different species of black tip – has been found off the coast of Australia.
The species are genetically distinct and tend to live in different temperature waters.
The discovery of the shark – one among 57 – along a 200km stretch of coast from Queensland to New South Wales – was reported in the Conservation Genetics journal, published by researchers from the University of Queensland last month.
Dr Jennifer Ovenden, from the Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries told abc.net.au: “It was unprecedented because hybridisation between sharks in the wild has never been reported before in Australia or worldwide.
“Species with the smaller body can hybridise with the species with larger body, allowing that tropical species to move further south.
“We are thinking that it will provide the sharks with a mechanism to adapt to future environmental change.”