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Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

Oviparous, details of spawning not recorded. Biology poorly known. Probably eats bottom invertebrates as with other members of the family.
  • Compagno, L.J.V. (2001). Sharks of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Volume 2. Bullhead, mackerel and carpet sharks (Heterodontiformes, Lamniformes and Orectolobiformes). FAO Species Catalogue for Fishery Purposes. No. 1, Vol. 2. Rome, FAO. 269p.
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Comprehensive Description

Biology

A common but little-known shark found on the continental and insular shelves in depths down to at least 50 m (Ref. 247, 11230) in the South China Sea, but deeper and in 150 - 200 meters off Western Australia (Ref. 43278). Probably feeds on bottom invertebrates and small fishes (Ref. 6871). Oviparous (Ref. 247).
  • Compagno, L.J.V. 2001 Sharks of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Vol. 2. Bullhead, mackerel and carpet sharks (Heterodontiformes, Lamniformes and Orectolobiformes). FAO Spec. Cat. Fish. Purp. 1(2):269p. Rome: FAO. (Ref. 43278)
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Distribution

Range Description

Western Pacific from Japan, Korea, China, Viet Nam and Indonesia. Also known from northern Western Australia.
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Indo-West Pacific.
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Western Pacific: Japan to northwestern Australia (Ref. 6871) and Queensland.
  • Compagno, L.J.V. 1984 FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 4. Sharks of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Part 1 - Hexanchiformes to Lamniformes. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(4/1):1-249. Rome: FAO. (Ref. 247)
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Physical Description

Morphology

Dorsal spines (total): 2; Dorsal soft rays (total): 0; Analspines: 0; Analsoft rays: 0
  • Compagno, L.J.V. and V.H. Niem 1998 Heterodontidae. Bullhead sharks, horn sharks. p. 1238-1240. In K.E. Carpenter and V.H. Niem (eds.) FAO Identification Guide for Fishery Purposes. The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO, Rome. (Ref. 9838)
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Size

Maximum size: 1250 mm TL
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Max. size

125 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 2334))
  • Randall, J.E., G.R. Allen and R.C. Steene 1990 Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, Hawaii. 506 p. (Ref. 2334)
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Diagnostic Description

The Zebra bullhead shark, Heterodontus zebra, has a large blunt head, low supra-orbital crest gradually sloping behind eyes, dorsal fin spines, anal fin, and zebra-pattern of dark, narrow vertical bands on a pale background (Ref. 9838; 6871). As characteristic of members of the family, caudal fin with a moderately long dorsal lobe and moderately long ventral lobe, the latter shorter than the dorsal lobe, vertebral axis raised into caudal-fin lobe (Ref.9838).
  • Compagno, L.J.V. and V.H. Niem 1998 Heterodontidae. Bullhead sharks, horn sharks. p. 1238-1240. In K.E. Carpenter and V.H. Niem (eds.) FAO Identification Guide for Fishery Purposes. The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO, Rome. (Ref. 9838)
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
A common but little-known bottom shark of continental and insular shelves. It is mostly found in depths shallower than 50 m, although recorded recently from the continental shelf of northern Western Australia in 150 to 200 m. Maximum total length (TL) about 122 cm and males mature at 64 to 84 cm. Hatchlings at least 15 cm. Heterodontus zebra is oviparous but details of spawning are not known. It probably feeds on invertebrates and small fishes, as with other members of the family.

Systems
  • Marine
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on the continental and insular shelves of the western Pacific from inshore down to at least 50 m in the South China Sea, but deeper and in 150 to 200 m off Western Australia.
  • Compagno, L.J.V. (2001). Sharks of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Volume 2. Bullhead, mackerel and carpet sharks (Heterodontiformes, Lamniformes and Orectolobiformes). FAO Species Catalogue for Fishery Purposes. No. 1, Vol. 2. Rome, FAO. 269p.
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Depth: 0 - 200m.
Recorded at 200 meters.

Habitat: demersal.
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Environment

reef-associated; marine; depth range 50 - 200 m (Ref. 6871)
  • Last, P.R. and J.D. Stevens 1994 Sharks and rays of Australia. CSIRO, Australia. 513 p. (Ref. 6871)
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Depth range based on 10 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 5 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 132.5 - 265
  Temperature range (°C): 14.172 - 20.860
  Nitrate (umol/L): 6.510 - 23.801
  Salinity (PPS): 34.729 - 35.239
  Oxygen (ml/l): 2.420 - 3.515
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.823 - 1.721
  Silicate (umol/l): 12.117 - 33.862

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 132.5 - 265

Temperature range (°C): 14.172 - 20.860

Nitrate (umol/L): 6.510 - 23.801

Salinity (PPS): 34.729 - 35.239

Oxygen (ml/l): 2.420 - 3.515

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.823 - 1.721

Silicate (umol/l): 12.117 - 33.862
 
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Trophic Strategy

A common but little-known shark found on the continental and insular shelves in depths down to at least 50 m. Probably feeds on bottom invertebrates and small fishes (Ref. 247). In Japan, preferably near Nagasaki; inhabits rocky regions (Ref. 9137). A carnivore (Ref. 9137). Found in temperate waters where it frequents rocky reefs & kelp forests. Feeds on crustaceans, molluscs, small bony fishes, and sea urchins. Some specimens observed with hyrdroids growing in their teeth (Ref. 12951).
  • Compagno, L.J.V. 1984 FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 4. Sharks of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Part 1 - Hexanchiformes to Lamniformes. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(4/1):1-249. Rome: FAO. (Ref. 247)
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Life History and Behavior

Life Cycle

Oviparous, paired eggs are laid. Embryos feed solely on yolk (Ref. 50449). Distinct pairing with embrace (Ref. 205). Lays auger type eggs (about 12-18cm, 4.7-7 inches long) among rocks & kelp, often with more than female using same oviposition site, with as many eggs found in a single nest; female lay 2 eggs at a time, from spring to late summer in Japan, 6-12 times during a single spawning season. Eggs hatch in 1 year. Hatch at 18 cm (7 inches), max length at 1.2m (3.9 ft.). During courtship, male grasps pectoral fin of female & wraps posterior part of body under her so single clasper can be inserted into her cloaca. In several mating bouts observed, copulation lasted as long as 15 minutes (Ref. 12951).
  • Breder, C.M. and D.E. Rosen 1966 Modes of reproduction in fishes. T.F.H. Publications, Neptune City, New Jersey. 941 p. (Ref. 205)
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Heterodontus zebra

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2003
  • Needs updating

Assessor/s
Barratt, P. & Cavanagh, R.D. (SSG Australia & Oceania Regional Workshop, March 2003)

Reviewer/s
Cavanagh, R.D. & Fowler, S.L. (Shark Red List Authority)

Contributor/s

Justification
A wide-ranging and apparently common shallow-water Western Pacific species. Although of little interest to commercial fisheries, Heterondontus zebra is caught as bycatch of demersal trawlers and possibly other fisheries, and could be under some threat from destructive fishing practices and habitat degradation in Indonesia. However, this species is common within its range, is probably relatively fecund (an oviparous species) and is assessed as Least Concern because there seem to be no major threats to its populations at the present time.
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Population

Population
No data are available on population size or subpopulations though it is known to be common within its range.

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
H. zebra is of little interest to commercial fisheries, but is caught as bycatch by commercial trawlers and possibly other fisheries in its range. It may also be under threat from destructive fishing practices within its range in Indonesia such as cyanide and dynamite fishing, and habitat destruction.

Utilization in aquarium trade is not recorded, but the species is an obvious candidate because of its attractive colour pattern.
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Least Concern (LC)
  • IUCN 2006 2006 IUCN red list of threatened species. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded July 2006.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
There are currently no conservation measures in place for this species.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: minor commercial; aquarium: potential; price category: unknown; price reliability:
  • Compagno, L.J.V. 2001 Sharks of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Vol. 2. Bullhead, mackerel and carpet sharks (Heterodontiformes, Lamniformes and Orectolobiformes). FAO Spec. Cat. Fish. Purp. 1(2):269p. Rome: FAO. (Ref. 43278)
  • Michael, S.W. 1993 Reef sharks and rays of the world. A guide to their identification, behavior, and ecology. Sea Challengers, Monterey, California. 107 p. (Ref. 12951)
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