Differences in pelvic fin colouration of the two blacktip species

Detection of interspecies hybridisation in Chondrichthyes: First generation hybrids (and offspring of hybrids) between Australian (Carcharhinus tilstoni) and Common blacktip shark (C. limbatus) found in an Australian fishery

Conservation Genetics

This paper reported on the first discovery of hybridisation between two species of sharks in the wild – the Australian blacktip shark, Carcharhinus tilstoni, and the Common blacktip shark, Carcharhinus limbatus. This was a serendipitous discovery that came about as a result of an inconsistency in species identification. Due to difficulties in separating the species in the field, members of our reseach group (JR Ovenden, JAT Morgan & R Street) developed a method for identification using mitochondrial DNA. I was convinced it wasn’t working as expected based on my disections in the field, but it took me around two years to collect enough data from vertebral counts to demonstrate this conclusively. Jess Morgan, in particular, put together the pieces that what we were observing was the result of hybridsation. The paper gained quite a bit of media attention including from the Washington Post, ABC News Australia, and Huffington Post.