Honeycomb Izak

The honeycomb izak, or the Natal izak as it is sometimes called, is a catshark living in the Western Indian Ocean. It is named after the honeycomb pattern on its back.

Honeycomb Izak Scientific Classification

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Chondrichthyes
Order Carcharhiniformes
Family Scyliorhinidae
Genus Holohalaelurus
Scientific Name H. favus


Male honeycomb izaks are 1.7-1.8 feet, while females are 1.2-1.4 feet. They weigh about 66 lb.

The head is flat, broad, and has a blunt snout. Inside the shark’s mouth, one can observe 65 rows of teeth in the upper jaw and 60 in the lower one. The oval eyes present horizontally on top of the shark’s head have thick ridges between them and nictitating membranes. Skin flaps cover the shark’s nostrils.

Honeycomb izaks have two broad pectoral fins and two dorsal fins, with the second being bigger than the first. The pelvic fins are fused to an extent and are more prominent than both dorsal fins, as is the anal fin.

The shark has a yellowish-brown background covered with spots and reticulations of various sizes, giving it a honeycomb-like appearance.

Where do they live

Their range encompasses a small part of the western Indian Ocean from KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa to Mozambique. They are an open-water species with a depth range of 656- 2,428 feet. Interestingly, juveniles occur in deeper waters than adults.



Honeycomb izaks feed on cephalopods, crustaceans, hydrozoans, polychaetes, and small bony fish.


While the exact reproductive behavior of this shark isn’t known, one can assume it is oviparous like other catsharks and gives birth by laying eggs.

Interactions with humans

No specimens of this species have been collected since the mid-1970s, so very little information is known about its population. As a result, the IUCN classified it as “Endangered” or “EN”.

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