The Order Squaliformes, home to the dogfish sharks, is one of the most diverse groups of sharks currently swimming the oceans, second only to the Carcharhiniformes in sheer number of species. Within that order is the Family Squalidae, made up of the very familiar spiny dogfish Squalus acanthias (the star of this blog) and a bunch of species that look pretty similar to it.
New species tend to pop up in this group, since most of these sharks look pretty similar and the majority of them live in the deep sea. Recently one species was “rediscovered” in plain sight; the North Pacific spiny dogfish Squalus suckleyi had been considered a population of S. acanthias but has been restored to species status by genetic analysis. Now, researchers have found an entirely new Squalus species in the Tashi Fish Market in Taiwan. Say hello to Squalus formosus.
White and Iglesias (2011) gave Squalus formosus it’s pretty cool-sounding scientific name after the geographic location where, so far, all the specimens have been found. “Formosa” is the Portuguese name originally given to Taiwan. This species shares its range with at least four other similar-looking dogfish, including wide-ranging species such as the shortnose spurdog Squalus megalops, shortspine spurdog Squalus mitsukurri, Japanese spurdog Squalus japonicus, and longnose spurdog Squalus blainville.
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