Threatened, not threatening

An axolotl at UnderWater World, which marked National Threatened Species Day.
An axolotl at UnderWater World, which marked National Threatened Species Day. Warren Lynam

BEHIND the sharp teeth, ominous dorsal fin and three metres of shark flesh lies a misunderstood creature of the sea - one which is on the threatened species list.

The grey nurse shark has long endured a "bad rap" because of its fierce exterior, but yesterday this gentle giant was celebrated at UnderWater World as part of National Threatened Species Day.

UnderWater World aquarist Emily Thomas said the grey nurse shark was spearfished to near extinction in the 1960s.

"They look vicious, their teeth stick out, but they are completely placid and have no record of attacks," Ms Thomas said.

The axolotl - also known as the Mexican Walking Fish - was also highlighted as it is on the critically endangered list.

This strange fish-like amphibian with legs and fingers has rapidly declined in numbers because of massive habitat destruction.

The axolotl has the "really cool ability" to regenerate parts of its body. "If it loses part of an arm or a tail, it can regenerate it," Ms Thomas said.

"It also remains in larval form throughout its life. Most fish and amphibians have the ability to breath with internal gills, they have them on the outside of their body."

The axolotl is being used for research in the hope that we can learn from their ability to regenerate limbs.

Two other residents at UnderWater World came in for attention yesterday - the Australian sea lion, which is endangered, and the redtail sharkminnow, which is categorised as extinct in the wild.

National Threatened Species Day aims to encourage the community to prevent further extinction of Australia's fauna and flora and restore healthy numbers of endangered species and ecological communities in the wild.

Topics:  grey nurse shark underwater world

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

All's Wells for Madi after third national silver medal

RISING STAR: Lockyer District Athletic Club's Madison Wells celebrates her latest silver medal success with mum Sharyn and dad Lee in Melbourne.

Madison Wells won silver at the Australian Multi-events titles.

Bid on hot cross buns to help raise funds

GOING HOT: The Old Fernvale Bakery aim to raise $40,000 for the Lady Cilento Childrens Hospital by donating $1 from every pack of hot cross buns sold. Pictured here are Lyn and Bill Rose with the latest hot cross bun creation, cranberry, pistachio and white chocolate.

Help the Old Fernvale bakery get over the line.

Home Affairs visits Gatton

HELPING HAND: Department of Home Affairs staff Michael and Zepphorah at the department's visa outreach event in Gatton on Tuesday.

Immigration visits Gatton to advise on visas

Local Partners