White-Spotted Bamboo Shark

White-Spotted Bamboo Shark Chiloscyllium plagiosum

Type of Animal:
Carpet Shark

Inshore/nearshore shallow & tidal subtropical/tropical reefs & associated waters, often found on bottom & in crevices

Indo-West Pacific areas w to India & Sri Lanka. Disjunct population off Madagascar.

Brown w/ darker brown bands & scattered white & black spots, elongated narrow body plan w/ lobed fins & rounded snout. Pups lighter in color.

Crabs, shrimp, bony fish, squid, mussels, clams, snails, starfish, scallops

Status in Wild:

Breeding from aquariums, zoos, marine parks, & private breeders

Found in small schools of 3-20 sharks.

Additional Info:

Male: 2.5-3 lbs
Female: 5 lbs
3.5 months

Life Span:
25 years

Body Length:
Male: 1.5-2.5 ft
Female: 3-3.5 ft
Young: 0.67 ft

Tail Length:
Male: 1 ft
Female: 1.854-2.345 ft

Main predators are larger fish & marine mammals.
Often called white-spotted catshark, due to nasal barbels near mouth resembling whiskers, which help locate hidden food in sand. Also called blue-spotted bamboo shark.
Like other sharks, they have electroreceptors (ampulae of lorenzini) along snout to help locate prey.
Mostly active at night (nocturnal).
Potential threats-overfishing, habitat degradation due to dynamite & cyanide fishing, water pollution, marine debris, over-collecting for private aquarium trade, accidental bycatch, & use in medicinal trade. Meat considered delicacy in Madagascar & Taiwan.
Like other sharks, males have external appendages called claspers used to fertilize female.
These sharks lay eggs in egg cases (sometimes called mermaids’ purses).
They’re quite sedentary & slow-moving.
Multiple animals often squeeze into rock crevices to hide.

Fun Fact(s):
Teeth can pivot backwards in order to consume harder shelled prey.
They can manipulate muscular pectoral fins to “walk” on seabed.
They do very well in captivity & breed readily.
Sharks lack swim bladders, instead having livers producing oil called squalene giving it buoyancy.
Albinism occurs in 1 of every 10,000 individuals.
Parthenogenesis (ability of unfertilized eggs to develop into embryos w/o sperm) has occurred a few times in this species.
These sharks quite docile often appearing in public aquarium touch pools.
Sometimes kept in very large home aquariums.


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