Quagga Catshark

The quagga catshark is a small catshark living in the pockets of the Indian Ocean.

Quagga Catshark Scientific Classification

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Chondrichthyes
Order Carcharhiniformes
Family Scyliorhinidae
Genus Halaelurus
Scientific Name H. quagga

Description

On average, these sharks are about a foot long, with the largest specimen recorded so far being 1.25 ft long. This shark has a slender body, a flat head, and a pointed snout.  Their mouth is curved and wide, with the teeth in the upper jaw exposed even when closed. There are 26-28 rows of teeth in the upper jaw and 27 in the lower one.

Quagga catsharks have a distinct dorsal color – with 20 dark brown narrow bands on a lighter brown upperside. Ventrally they are off-white, which gives them the appearance of their namesake, the quagga.

Where do they live

The only nine specimens observed so far are from the Laccadive Sea off southwestern India and the Somalian coast in the Indian Ocean. A bottom-dwelling shark living on the continental shelf, the depths where it lives appear to be 194-720 ft, possibly 920ft.

Behavior

Feeding

Quagga sharks feed on deep-living shrimps.

Reproductive

These sharks lay brown purse-shaped egg capsules about 1.5–1.6 inches long. Like most eggs laid by sharks, they have tendrils at four corners to keep them tethered.

While males become sexually mature at about 11 – 14 inches, it remains unknown to this day when the females do so.

Interactions with humans

This shark has no commercial value to fisheries, with only some caught incidentally. There is very little information about it, so the IUCN lists the quagga shark as “Data Deficient”.

Sources

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