Whitespotted bamboo shark

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Whitespotted bamboo shark
Chiloscyllium plagiosum newport.jpg
Chiloscyllium plagiosum2.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Subclass: Elasmobranchii
Order: Orectolobiformes
Family: Hemiscylliidae
Genus: Chiloscyllium
Species: C. plagiosum
Binomial name
Chiloscyllium plagiosum
(Anonymous, referred to Bennett, 1830)
Chiloscyllium plagiosum distmap.png
Range of the whitespotted bamboo shark

Chiloscyllium caeruleopunctatum Pellegrin, 1914

The whitespotted bamboo shark, Chiloscyllium plagiosum, is a carpet shark with an adult size that approaches one metre in length [1] This small, mostly nocturnal species is harmless to humans. The whitespotted bamboo shark is occasionally kept as a pet in larger home aquariums. It can grow up to 93 centimetres (37 in) long.[2]


Dorsal fins with convex posterior margins. Color pattern of white and dark spots, with dark bands and a brown body. The coloration is unique in this family making it very simple for identification.[3] The teeth of bamboo sharks are not strongly differentiated. Each tooth has a medial cusp and weak labial root lobes with 26–35 teeth on the upper jaw and 21–32 teeth on the lower jaw.[4]


These sharks are found on coral reefs of the Pacific Ocean. They are common in the coastal areas of Indonesia and surrounding waters, but the species' range extends from Japan to India [5] These sharks are also used for human consumption in Madagascar [3] and Taiwan.[6]


These sharks feed at night, preying on small fish and invertebrates. They have small teeth that can be used for grasping or crushing prey. Soft prey is grasped when the tips of the teeth sink into the flesh, but the teeth pivot backwards when biting hard prey. This protects the tooth tip and allows the flattened front surface of the teeth to form a continuous plate for crushing crabs. [7][8]


Whitespotted bamboo sharks are oviparous (egg laying). The eggs are approximately five inches long[9] and hatch after 14 or 15 weeks.[9][10] The young hatch out at approximately 6 inches in length.[11] Doug Sweet, curator of fishes at the Belle Isle Aquarium in Detroit reports that in July 2002 a clutch of eggs from a female whitespotted bamboo shark hatched without any apparent fertilization[10] This appears to be the first reported example of parthenogenesis in this species.

Virgin Birth[edit]

A female Chiloscyllium plagiosum that had no contact with a male for 6 years, gave birth to 3 young at the Belle Isle Aquarium in Detroit, Michigan. There are many theories for this incident but none are confirmed. Among these theories, the three most likely would be that the female contains both the male and the female reproductive organs; the female has the ability to store sperm for that long; and lastly that the female has somehow stimulated the eggs without sperm, process called parthenogenesis.[12]

Albino mutations[edit]

Three albino whitespotted bamboo sharks have hatched at SeaWorld of Orlando[13] Downtown Aquarium in Denver Colorado has had annual hatchings of albino whitespotted bamboo sharks since 2007 and they currently have some displayed on exhibit.

As pets[edit]

Because of their small size and bottom-dwelling lifestyle, these are one of the more common species of sharks to be kept in home aquariums. They feed and breed readily in captivity.[7] Because of this, they can be purchased from many sources.[14][15] Adult specimens will require tanks of at least 180 gallons, and preferably more.[16] Captive specimens may be fed chunks of squid, shrimp, clams, scallops and marine fish, as well as live ghost shrimp.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "White spotted bamboo shark". 
  2. ^ Kindersley, Dorling (2001,2005). Animal. New York City: DK Publishing. ISBN 0-7894-7764-5.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. ^ a b Compagno, Leonard. "Sharks of the world." Shark Research Center Iziko-Museums of Cape Town. NO. 1. Vol 2. Cape Town South Africa: FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS, 2002. Pg 173
  4. ^ Bester, Cathleen. "WHITESPOTTED BAMBOOSHARK." Florida Museum of Natural History. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 April 2010.
  5. ^ "White spotted bamboo shark". 
  6. ^ Chen, Wei-Ke and Liu Kwan-Ming "Reproductive biology of whitespotted bamboo shark Chiloscyllium plagiosum in northern waters off Taiwan" Fisheries Science 72: 1215-1224
  7. ^ a b "Shark species". 
  8. ^ "Shark species". 
  9. ^ a b "Shark species". 
  10. ^ a b "Shark gives virgin birth". 
  11. ^ a b "Pet sharks". 
  12. ^ National Geographic, (2002). Shark gives virgin birth in Detroit. Retrieved Apr. 17, 2010, from Nationalgeographic.com Web site: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/09/0925_020925_virginshark.html.
  13. ^ "Albino white spotted bamboo shark". 
  14. ^ "Sharks for sale". 
  15. ^ "Sharks for sale". 
  16. ^ "FAQs". 
General references