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Poroderma pantherinum

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA CHONDRICHTHYES CARCHARHINIFORMES SCYLIORHINIDAE

Scientific Name: Poroderma pantherinum
Species Authority: (Müller & Henle, 1838)
Common Name(s):
English Leopard Catshark
Synonym(s):
Scyllium pantherinum Müller & Henle, 1838
Taxonomic Notes: Poroderma marleyi was previously considered separate from P. pantherinum, however, it has been shown that P. marleyi represents an extreme colour pattern of P. pantherinum (Human 2003; 2006a,b).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2009
Date Assessed: 2004-05-12
Assessor(s): Human, B.
Reviewer(s): Cavanagh, R.D., Stevens, J.D., Pollard, D., Dudley, S. & Valenti, S.V. (Shark Red List Authority)
Justification:
The Leopard Catshark (Poroderma pantherinum) is an abundant inshore catshark, endemic to South Africa. Its range is restricted to inshore waters and it is probable that this shark has multiple separate populations along the coastline, suggesting that the population is severely fragmented. It is commonly caught by rock and surf anglers, and commercial line fishermen who regard this shark as a pest which results in persecution and it is frequently killed by line fishers. Although the species is apparently common at present, its occurrence within areas of high fishing pressure, combined with the commercial line fishers' negative attitude towards this shark and the possibility that several subpopulations may exist leads to the recommendation that a suitable monitoring program be established for this species. The habitat that this shark occupies is also heavily utilised and extensive pollution and habitat degradation of inshore environments may also be impacting populations. There is a demand for this species for the aquarium trade, although number of animals taken per year is unknown and needs to be determined. Insufficient information is currently available on population trends and the impact of threats throughout its range to assess it beyond Data Deficient. Careful monitoring is required and the assessment should be revisited as further information becomes available.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Southwestern Indian and southeastern Atlantic Oceans: west of Cape Town to Durban in South Africa.
Countries:
Native:
South Africa (Eastern Cape Province, KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Atlantic – southeast; Indian Ocean – western
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: It is probable that this shark has multiple separate populations along the coastline, suggesting that the population is severely fragmented. This needs to be confirmed and each population monitored (Human 2003, 2006a).

Apparently common at present, although no specific data are available on population numbers. It is commonly sighted by scuba divers and commonly taken in inshore fisheries.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Inshore and abundant, P. pantherinum is common on rocky reefs and in kelp forests. It also seems to be readily caught from sandy beaches (Human 2003, 2006a). It occurs from the shore to 50 m depth, but is usually found at less than 20 m depth.

Poroderma pantherinum grows to a maximum size of at least 84 cm TL (Compagno 1984). Males are juvenile at 10.0-51.9 cm TL, adolescent at 46.9-67.2 cm TL, and mature at 60.7-77.4 cm TL. Females are juvenile at 9.4-48.5 cm TL, adolescent at 43.0-64.1 cm TL, and mature at 50.7-66.6 cm TL (Human 2003, 2006a).

Poroderma pantherinum has an extended single oviparous reproductive strategy, with two egg cases laid at a time and no obvious reproductive season (Bertolini 1993, Dainty 2002, Roux 2002). One shark was observed hatching at 11 cm TL (Dainty 2002). Bertolini (1993) determined that these sharks have a longevity of at least 15 years, and size at 50% maturity was approximately 60.0 cm TL (=10 years). Dainty (2002) found that P. pantherinum lives for at least 19 years, and the age at 50% maturity was estimated to be 17 years. Roux (2002) determined that length at 50% maturity is 60.0 cm TL for males and 60.1 cm TL for females.
Systems: Marine

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Frequently caught but apparently only utilized for the aquarium trade. The attractive colour patterns of this shark make it desirable for aquarium displays. The number of animals caught per year for this trade is unknown.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This shark is an inshore endemic of South Africa and occurs in waters with intensive commercial and recreational line fishing activities. Perceived as a pest individuals are frequently killed by line fishers. Poroderma pantherinum is apparently common at present, however, it is probable that this shark has multiple separate populations along the coastline, suggesting severe fragmentation and reduced probability of recolonization. This needs to be confirmed and each population monitored. This species' inshore habitat is subject to heavy and increasing human utilizations, including extensive recreational diving and sport and commercial fishing along with coastal housing development, boating, commercial shipping, holiday-making, beach utilization and extensive pollution and habitat degradation of inshore environments. There is a demand for this species for the aquarium trade, although number of animals taken per year is unknown and needs to be determined.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The presence of multiple populations needs to be confirmed with genetic analyses. If multiple populations are present, each population must be monitored independently due to the variable intensity of fishing which occurs along its range and the proximity of populations to sources of industrial waste pollution. Poroderma pantherinum is perceived as a pest by line fishers and are frequently killed by them. A public education program must be put into place for both recreational and commercial fishers. This shark is attractive and is sought as a display animal for aquaria. The pressure placed on this shark due to the aquarium trade needs to be determined and fishing and trade may require management.

Citation: Human, B. 2009. Poroderma pantherinum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 27 August 2014.
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