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Pyjama shark, lined catshark.
A relatively thick bodied catshark with long nasal barbells
reaching the mouth. Body colour grey or grey/brown with five distinct
longditudinal black stripes running from between the nose to the tail.
Markings may be sparse in some individuals.
Kelp forests, rocky reefs and mixed sandy or rocky substrates from surf line to
282m but mostly above 100m.
Endemic to South Africa. Western Cape to kwazulu-Natal. Possibly also Madagascar
over reef substrates at night but may also be sighted occasionally during the day.
Congregates and rests in recesses and caves or under kelp.
cephalopods where available but also eats crustaceans, bony fishes, small rays,
hagfishes and polychaete worms.
Produces one egg per oviduct. Egg cases between 5-10cm in length. Egg cases of
Pyjama sharks in captivity hatched after 5 months.
Conservation Status: The IUCN lists the leopard catshark as 'Near
Threatened'. This inshore catshark has a restricted zoogeogeographic and
bathymetric range in a heavily fished, well-populated area of South Africa.
Although generally not targeted at present, the Pyjama Shark (Poroderma
africanum) is subject to fisheries pressure from commercial and sports
fisheries. Its status is of concern because of increasing regional fisheries for
small sharks for the export market over the last few years.
Citation: Compagno, L.J.V. 2005. Poroderma africanum. In: IUCN
2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.1. <www.iucnredlist.org>.
Miller's Point, Simon's Town, Cape Province, South Africa.
The pyjama catshark's closest relative is the
leopard catshark Poroderma pantherinum. The
leopard catshark has distinct leopard-like spots rather than stripes that should easily differentiate the two in the field
but some indiviuals may have indistinct markings leading to confusion.
Reaction to divers:
Swims nonchalantly around divers but will retreat when harassed.
logistics: Easily encountered from
shore or while boat diving around Cape Town and likely elsewhere along the South
African coastline. Divers
carrying a few sardines that they can
break up on the reef, will be especially successful.
Big Fish Expeditions runs yearly
Shark Safari's in South Africa that include dives with this species.