Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

A little-known shark found on the continental shelf close inshore (Ref. 247). Feeds on benthic invertebrates (Ref. 43278). Ovoviviparous (Ref. 43278, 50449).
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Distribution

Range Description

Inshore on the continental shelf in shallow water (5 m), of the east Coast of Australia, western South Pacific. Most records are from Moreton Bay near Brisbane, Queensland, with a few records from southern Queensland between Gladstone and Coolangatta, and in north-eastern Queensland off York Peninsula and the Great Barrier Reef (Last and Stevens 1994, Compagno 2001). No subpopulation details; possibly only one population exists.
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Southwest Pacific: endemic to Australia.
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Australia.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 0; Analspines: 0; Analsoft rays: 0
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Size

Maximum size: 760 mm TL
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Max. size

76.0 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 13576))
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Diagnostic Description

No white spots on body (Ref. 13576). Caudal fin with its upper lobe at a low angle above body axis, with a strong terminal lobe and subterminal notch but no ventral lobe (Ref. 13576).
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
An ovoviviparous species, with 6?8 pups per litter. Term foetuses are 174?186 mm; size at birth is probably 17?18 cm. Maximum size is at least 75.5 cm. Pregnant females have been recorded at 65.8?75.5cm and males are adolescent at about 48.2?51.6 cm. Age at maturity, average reproductive age and longevity are all unknown (Compagno 2001). The behavioural ecology of this shark needs to be investigated. Studies should include underwater census and tagging.

Systems
  • Marine
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Environment

demersal; marine; depth range ? - 6 m (Ref. 43278)
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Depth range based on 1 specimen in 1 taxon.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 5 - 5
 
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Trophic Strategy

A little-known shark found on the continental shelf close inshore (Ref. 247, 75154). Feeds on benthic invertebrates (Ref. 43278).
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Life History and Behavior

Life Cycle

Ovoviviparous, embryos feed solely on yolk (Ref. 50449). Distinct pairing with embrace (Ref. 205).
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Brachaelurus colcloughi

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 11
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
VU
Vulnerable

Red List Criteria
C2a(ii)

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2009

Assessor/s
Compagno, L.J.V., Last, P. & Stevens, J.

Reviewer/s
Musick, J.A. & Fowler, S.L. (Shark Red List Authority)

Contributor/s

Justification
This assessment is based on the information published in the 2005 shark status survey (Fowler et al. 2005).

The Bluegrey Carpetshark (Heteroscyllium colcloughi) is a rare to uncommon species, endemic to the east coast of Australia and with a poorly known biology. Fewer than 20 specimens of this small, attractive but poorly known shark are recorded, mostly from inshore waters of Moreton Bay, Queensland. This shark seems to be rare as far as is known, despite coverage of available habitat. As presently known it has an extremely limited geographic and bathymetric range off Queensland and occurs in waters that are heavily utilised by people and which are subjected to intensive fisheries.

History
  • 2000
    Vulnerable
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Population

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
Bluegrey Carpetsharks are caught as limited inshore bycatch of fisheries and exploited at low levels for the marine aquarium trade. No information is available on trends in numbers or range, but they are not found in quantity at any locality despite reasonable survey coverage. Habitat degradation could become a problem as human usage of coastal waters increases, since it has a restricted distribution to areas heavily utilized by humans.
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Vulnerable (VU) (C2a(ii))
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Only limited areas of its habitat are protected on the Great Barrier Reef, and the species is not directly protected.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: minor commercial; price category: unknown; price reliability:
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Wikipedia

Bluegrey carpetshark

The bluegrey carpetshark or Colclough's shark (Heteroscyllium colcloughi) is an uncommon species of carpet shark endemic to shallow inshore waters off northeastern Australia. It is one of the two extant members of the family Brachaeluridae, and the only member of its genus. The bluegrey carpetshark has a stocky body with a wide, slightly flattened head, dorsally placed eyes, and a pair of long barbels with posterior skin flaps. It has large pectoral fins, two dorsal fins of unequal size placed far back on the body, and a sizable space between the anal fin and the base of the caudal fin. Growing to 76 cm (30 in) long, this species has a black-and-white color pattern as a juvenile, which largely fades with age such as that adults are brownish.

When removed from the water, the bluegrey carpetshark will close its eyes like the related blind shark (Brachaelurus waddi). It feeds on benthic invertebrates and bony fishes, and is aplacental viviparous with females bearing litters of 6–7 pups. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has assessed this species as Vulnerable, given its rarity and restricted occurrence in heavily utilized waters. It is taken in small numbers by commercial and recreational fisheries, and for the aquarium trade.

Contents

Taxonomy

The bluegrey carpetshark was described by Australian ichthyologist James Douglas Ogilby as a species of Brachaelurus, in an 1908 issue of Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland. He named the shark after his friend John Colclough, and based his account on two immature males about 46 cm (18 in) long from Moreton Bay in Queensland, one of which was later "accidentally destroyed".[2][3] A year after Ogilby's publication, Charles Tate Regan created the new genus Heteroscyllium for this species.[3]

In 1940, Gilbert Percy Whitley published the first illustrations of the bluegrey carpetshark, but unfortunately they were inaccurate in some respects, particularly on omitting a midline groove on the chin. Much taxonomic confusion then resulted, on whether the bluegrey carpetshark and the blind shark belonged to separate genera or even constituted separate species, that were not resolved until the Queensland Museum obtained new specimens for study.[3] Other common names for this species include blue-grey catshark, bluegrey shark, and southern blind shark.[4]

Distribution and habitat

Rare to uncommon, the bluegrey carpetshark occurs along the northeastern coast of Australia from Gladstone, Queensland to Ballina, New South Wales, with most records coming from Moreton Bay. There are also a handful of reports from off the Cape York Peninsula, and this species may be more widely distributed on the Great Barrier Reef.[3][5] Demersal in nature, the bluegrey carpet shark is usually found close to shore in water less than 6 m (240 in) deep, though it has been recorded as far down as 100 m (330 ft).[5] It inhabits soft-bottomed habitats and has also been reported around shipwrecks.[3]

Description

The bluegrey carpetshark has a stout body with a long, slightly flattened head. The snout is blunt and looks wedge-shaped from the side. The large eyes are horizontally oval and placed high on the head, each with a strong ridge underneath and a large, round spiracles following immediately behind and below. The nostrils are preceded by a pair of long barbels, which have an enlarged posterior flap halfway along their lengths. There are well-developed skin flaps and grooves around the incurrent nostril opening, as well as a pair of grooves connecting them to the small, almost transverse mouth. The tooth rows number 32–34 in the upper jaw and 21–29 in the lower jaw; each tooth has an upright, awl-like central cusp and two lateral cusplets. The five pairs of gill slits are short, with the fourth and fifth pairs more closely spaced than the others.[3][5]

The pectoral and pelvic fins are broad and rounded, with the former larger than the latter. The two dorsal fin have rounded apices and are placed far back, with the first originating over the pelvic fin bases. The second dorsal fin is noticeably smaller than the first. The anal fin is less than half the size of the first dorsal fin and placed so that its free rear tip just reaches the base of the caudal fin. The caudal fin is long and low and comprises about a quarter of the total length, with no lower lobe and a strong ventral notch near the tip of the upper lobe. The dermal denticles are tiny, smooth, and non-overlapping. Adults are grayish to golden brown above and white below, with faint darker saddles and white patches on the dorsal fins. Juveniles have a striking pattern of large black markings on a white background.[3][5] This species can grow up to 76 cm (30 in) long.[4]

Biology and ecology

Like the blind shark, the bluegrey carpetshark shuts its lower eyelids when taken out of the water.[3] It feeds on small benthic invertebrates and bony fishes.[3][5] This species is aplacental viviparous, with the unborn young losing their egg cases early in development and being sustained by yolk sacs. Females bear litters of 6–7 young; the newborns measure around 17–18 cm (6.7–7.1 in) long.[3]

Human interactions

Harmless to humans, the bluegrey carpetshark is occasionally captured incidentally by commercial fisheries or hooked by recreational anglers. Small numbers are collected for the private aquarium trade, as it is attractive (especially young sharks) and probably adapts well to captivity.[3] The International Union for Conservation of Nature has assessed this species as Vulnerable, citing its narrow habitat preferences, limited range in a heavily populated region, and apparent rarity.[1]

References

  1. ^ a b Compagno, L.J.V., P. Last and J. Stevens (2005). Heteroscyllium colcloughi. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 30 January 2010.
  2. ^ Ogilby, J.D. (25 August 1908). "On new genera and species of fishes". Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland 21: 1–26.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Compagno, L.J.V. (2002). Sharks of the World: An Annotated and Illustrated Catalogue of Shark Species Known to Date (Volume 2). Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. pp. 142–148 ISBN 92-5-104543-7.
  4. ^ a b Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2010). "Heteroscyllium colcloughi" in FishBase. January 2010 version.
  5. ^ a b c d e Last, P.R. and J.D. Stevens (2009). Sharks and Rays of Australia (second ed). Harvard University Press. pp. 130. ISBN 0-674-03411-2.
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