The Natal shyshark, also known as the eastern shyshark or “happy chappie”, was once considered a variant of the similar-looking puffadder shyshark. However, nowadays, the two are considered separate species.
Natal Shyshark Scientific Classification
|Scientific Name||H. kistnasamyi|
These sharks are about 20 inches long, with a robust body and a broad snout. They have large eyes with third eyelids and furrowed mouths with teeth with 3-5 points. The anal, dorsal, and pelvic fins are the same size, with only the pectoral fins being moderately large.
Their body is brown, with H-shaped, darker brown saddles on the back as well as numerous small white spots between them.
Where do they live
Natal shysharks have a small range of about 39 sq mi, mainly limited to the waters off KwaZulu-Natal. But there have also been potential sightings along the Eastern and Western Cape Provinces of South Africa.
These sharks swim in the surf zone and are commonly spotted over rocky reefs at depths of 0-98 ft.
It would appear that the males become sexually mature at 20 inches in length while the females do so at 19 inches.
Interactions with humans
The IUCN classifies this shark as “Vulnerable” or “VU” due to the overall rarity of the species as well as the risks posed to it due to habitat loss and fishing activities.