Scientists have determined that sixgill sharks that live in the Atlantic Ocean are not the same species as the sixgills in the Pacific and Indian oceans.

Sixgill sharks are really hard to study because they live in very deep waters. The ones found in the Atlantic are much smaller than the ones that are in the Pacific and Indian oceans.

Toby Daly-Engel from the Florida Institute of Technology said:

“We showed that the sixgills in the Atlantic are actually very different from the ones in the Indian and Pacific Oceans on a molecular level, to the point where it is obvious that they’re a different species even though they look very similar to the naked eye. Because we now know there are two unique species, we have a sense of the overall variation in populations of sixgills. We understand that if we overfish one of them, they will not replenish from elsewhere in the world.”

For more info, check out the Florida Institute of Technology’s website.

(Photo credit: Ivy Baremore/MarAlliance)