Spotted-belly Catshark (Atelomycterus erdmanni)

 photo IMG_3617_zps4whtcoq4.jpg
 photo IMG_3619_zpsppdkonuj.jpg

Banded Sand Catshark (Atelomycterus fasciatus)

 photo IMG_3664_zpsnae2unkg.jpg

Bali Catshark (Atelomycterus baliensis)

 photo IMG_2440_zpsc44b592a.jpg

Being a member of the catshark family and Atelomycterus genus, this species was described from eastern Indonesia, Bali in 2005 by White, Last & Dharmadi, from three specimens obtained in market surveys.
It is smaller catshark recorded up to 43 cm. It is distinctive from other Atelomycterus catsharks by lacking white spots on the body and dorsal fins do not have the distinct white crest as seen in Atelomycterus marmoratus that is found in the same region. Its dorsal side has irregular dark blotches and spots, with a pale ventral side. Lower eyelids are nictating. Cusps on teeth are also longer and denticles are more strongly tricusped compared to other Atelomycterus. It is a reef dwelling species and can be found in groups.
Atelomycterus baliensis is oviparious like most other members of the catshark family. Interestingly, eggs of this species do not have typical paired top tendrils but dense fine string-like ones comprising a mesh that more closely resembles that of Chiloscyllium or Schroederichthys sp. The bottom of the egg has both shorter paired tendrils as is typical with scyliorhinid sharks. To my knowledge this species was first bred in captivity by Oari Aqua World in Japan. My broods have only begun producing eggs as of 2012 and more recent mating activity can be seen below.
Although at first they are very temperamental and difficult to feed in captivity, they will accept a variety of fish, squid, octopus, mussels and shrimp. Successful first meals with picky individuals included tiger shrimp, squid, sardine.
After years of work with this species, they seem very intelligent and interactive for a catsharks. They take on great personality once adapted and are very active from dusk to dawn.

 photo BIMG_2401_zps772fbdc7.jpg

 photo IMG_2395_zps19e03840.jpg

 photo IMG_2385_zps16557441.jpg

Below one can see the Bali Catsharks embryo developing.

And a video of the stages of embryo development.

Atelomycterus baliensis hatched my myself July 5, 2012


One can see the ontogeneity of a neonate that is several weeks old. The stripes on its dorsal side become lighter. These bands will fade again with maturity and its black spots will become predominant.
 photo c17c88cc-c158-4338-af98-b3b6efd970da_zps90344245.jpg

Female dentition


Blotchy Swell Shark (Cephaloscyllium umbratile)

 photo IMG_2732_zps4fd42db5.jpg
Distributed through the western North Pacific from Japan, China and Taiwan, the Japanese or Blotchy Swell Shark species prefers rocky bottoms and is foud in depths up to 200m. It is one of the larger species of swellshark reaching up to 120 cm.
It is distinguishable by its long and broad body and short head. It has a beige base with seven brown irregular saddles and numerous dark and lighter spots on the body. As juveniles, the saddles are darker with faint spots. During maturity the saddles fade and spots become white and more pronounced. Their mouth is very wide with a greater mouth to body ratio then a great white. Teeth typically have one primary and two secondary cusps.
Cephaloscyllium umbratile has been confused with the Australian species C. isabellum and the C. stevensi from New Guinea which was recently described.
In the wild, this Swell Shark’s diet consists both of squid, bony fish such as mackerel, sardines, hagfish eels, shrimp. They are know to feed on 10 sharks and ray species including Scyliorhinus torazame and C. umbratile, Galeus nipponensis, Narke japonica. I found them to have very big appetites and to eat any food offered.

Sexual maturity is reached for males at about 94cm and females up to 101 cm. The mode of reproduction is oviparous. Females in Japan were found to carry eggs year round excluding October. Egg cases are 5.5 – 7 cm wide and 14 cm in length, with tendrils at each corner. My first Blotchy Swell Shark neonate was 18 cm upon hatching, considerably large, especially for a catshark.

 photo 47c3969b-99a7-45bc-9b3b-86ab42ef377c_zps65dd2cfb.jpg

 photo IMG_2729_zps4b4f83ab.jpg

 photo IMG_1997_zps29b6b89f.jpg

 photo IMG_1669_zpsb43c305c.jpg
 photo IMG_1675_zps4e936a8f.jpg
 photo IMG_2610_zps1e486007.jpg
 photo IMG_2979_zps80853d60.jpg
 photo IMG_2969_zps0b217b68.jpg
 photo IMG_3056_zpsf92c60ad.jpg
 photo IMG_3090_zps93fcdebe.jpg


Izu Catshark (Scyliorhinus tokubee)


The Izu Catshark is one of two species of Scyliorhinus found in temperate Japanese waters. It was described by Shirai, Nakaya & Hagiwara 1992, from species from the coast of Shirahama, eastern Izu Peninsula, southern Japan. They are bottom dwelling sharks that can be found offshore on the continental shelf at 330 feet of depth.
Scyliorhinus tokubee was confused with S. torazame but is distinguished by its multiple smaller yellowish spots on the dorsal side of the body, larger mouth and greater interdorsal space. It is a smaller member of the family reaching closer to 15 inches.
Their mode of reproduction is oviparous, laying eggs like other catsharks. One egg develops in each of the two oviducts. Eggs are laid in pairs, or two eggs within a 24 hour period. When depositing eggs, females will attempt to catch the tendrils on the surrounding substrate and rocks. The process can take many hours. Eggs take over 8 months to hatch at 60°C.
Diet consists of smaller fish, shrimp and squid in captivity. Neonates accepted mysis shrimp as a first meal.
This species has been bred in captivity in Japan for a number of years at the Shimoda Floating Aquarium and is now also being bred here in Toronto, Canada pictured below.








Cloudy Catshark (Scyliorhinus torazame)


 photo IMG_2679_zpsad25a7b3.jpg

The Cloudy Catshark is distributed within the northwest Pacific from Japan, China, Korea to Taiwan at the bottom of the continental shelf at depths of 100m to 320m.
Being a smaller species only reaching up to 48cm, it has a narrow body and a brownish dorsal side with ten irregular saddles and smaller light brown spots varying in size.
Males reach sexual maturity at about 42 cm and females 40 cm. The mode of reproduction is oviparous, with one egg being produced for each oviduct. Females lay eggs in pairs usually no more then 24 hours apart. The embryos are sealed in jelly unit about 103 days before the egg starts to respire through four respiratory slits. Eggs take 214 days at 60°C to hatch.
In captivity, neonates take well to myisis shrimp for a first meal followed by cuttlefish tentacles and everything else the adults eat mushed down to size. Adults enjoy various fish such as mackerel and sardines, shrimp and squid.

 photo IMG_2680_zpsd3791f6d.jpg

Below we can see the very rare finding of a twin with in a single shark egg.
IMG_0856 photo IMG_0856.jpg
And a short video displaying the twin Scyliorhinus torazame egg.

This neonate in the egg case below is ready to hatch.

 photo Scyliorhinus_torazame_Avila_zps27853861.jpg


Below is a video of the captive bred sharks pups eating a meal.

Scyliorhinus torazame adult dentition, 1.14mm



Mystery Catshark (Asymbolus species)

As with many deep water sharks, the genus Asymbolus continues to be one with new discoveries, with the most recent described by Seret and Last in 2008, Asymbolus galacticus from New Caledonia.
The species in question here in my opinion appears to be a hybrid of two Eastern Australian Scyliorhinid sharks. The Grey Spotted Catshark, Asymbolus analis (Ogiby,1885) with greyish brown coloration with brown and white spots and the Orange Spotted Catshark and Asymbolus rubiginosus, having dark spots with orange borders.
I believe it may most closely resemble A. rubiginosus, however is not described as having white spots, which is my strongest evidence that this could be a different species. Further investigation of these two species was made by P.M Kyne, New Biogeographical Information on Queensland Chondrichthyans, which outlined that head length and interdorsal spaces were more variable and not a good judgement for identification. The specimen cited as A. analis also closely resembles the two scyliorhinids below.
These specimens readily accept squid, octopus, tiger shrimp and a variety of marine fish for food in captivity. They are very fast and skittish swimmers. Like other catsharks of the family Scyliorhinus, they do not walk on their pectoral fins.
 photo IMG_2779_zps7fb223e9.jpg

 photo IMG_2533_zps45f2741d.jpg

 photo IMG_2528_zps7161e224.jpg