The marine snail species, which has a wave pattern on its shell, has been dubbed Amoria thorae in honour of Ms Whitehead.
It’s so rare, scientists have never seen a live specimen.
Amoria thorae has a narrow distribution, stretching from northern New South Wales to south-east Queensland, Queensland Museum Curator of Marine Environments Dr John Healy said in a statement.
“I’d seen a shell of this marine snail illustrated in a book, but not officially described, so you can imagine my delight when photographing this new collection, I found not one, but two specimens of this potentially new species,” he said, explaining the specimens had been trawled off Cape Moreton at 110 metres depth.
“This species is extremely rare, and my hope is that one day the living animal will be found, photographed and studied so we may better understand its biology and relationships.”
The mollusc is a new Amoria species, which is part of the carnivorous Volutidae family of marine snails.
All members of the Volutidae family prey on molluscs and echinoderms, which includes starfish and sea urchins.