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Haploblepharus pictus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA CHONDRICHTHYES CARCHARHINIFORMES SCYLIORHINIDAE

Scientific Name: Haploblepharus pictus
Species Authority: (Müller & Henle, 1838)
Common Name(s):
English Pretty Happy, Dark Shyshark
Synonym(s):
Scyllium pictum Müller & Henle, 1838
Taxonomic Notes: H. pictus has been commonly misidentified as H. edwardsii, particularly east of Cape Algulhas, South Africa, where it is now known to occur. Problems with taxonomic keys that are currently available, have further confounded misidentifications. A taxonomic key has recently been developed to address this problem (Human 2003, 2007).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2009
Date Assessed: 2008-12-01
Assessor(s): Human, B.
Reviewer(s): Cavanagh, R.D., Stevens, J.D., Pollard, D., Dudley, S. & Valenti, S.V. (Shark Red List Authority)
Justification:
Haploblepharus pictus is endemic to Namibia and South Africa. An abundant inshore catshark, it is commonly caught by rock and surf anglers, and regularly seen by scuba divers and snorkellers. Its habitat preference appears to be kelp forests and rocky inshore reefs. Variation in colour pattern of this species and morphological similarity with other members of this genus has led to misidentifications of this species for H. edwardsii, particularly east of Cape Algulhas, South Africa. The main threat is recreational fishing where this shark is taken as discarded bycatch, generally regarded as a nuisance by the fishermen, and persecuted as such. It is not seen in other inshore fishery activities. Its apparent abundance and lack of significant fishing related threats give no reason to suspect a decline in abundance and this species is listed as Least Concern. However, its endemicity and habitat preference means that monitoring is required for both its abundance and health of its preferred habitat. Possible population substructuring needs to be assessed.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Southeast Atlantic Ocean and Western Indian Ocean. Southern African endemic occurring from north of Lüderitz, Namibia, south along the west coast of South Africa. A recent taxonomic revision of this genus has identified H. pictus ranging eastwards to at least the Storms River mouth, South Africa, southwestern Indian Ocean (Compagno et al. 1989, Human 2003, 2007).

No information available is available on its population structure, however it is likely, given the sedentary nature of this species that population sub-structuring may exist (Human 2003, 2007).
Countries:
Native:
Namibia (Namibia (main part)); South Africa (Eastern Cape Province, Western Cape)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Atlantic – southeast
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This is an apparently abundant species, regularly seen by divers and rock and surf anglers (Human 2003, 2007). There are no quantitative data available on abundance or population structuring.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Preferred habitat for this species appears to be kelp forest and rocky reef. Although not observed in sandy habitats, it presumably traverses these to move between rocky outcrops and fragmented kelp beds. Although the depth range is unknown, H. pictus is apparently confined to shallow inshore waters given that all specimens examined by Human (2003, 2007) were collected very close to shore and H. pictus not been taken in any research trawls undertaken by the research vessel "Africana", further confirming its inshore habitat.

A breeding season is apparently absent (Bertolini 1993). H. pictus has extended single oviparity, depositing one egg case at a time (von Bonde 1945a, Bass et al. 1975, Compagno 1984b, Bertolini 1993, Dainty et al. 2001, and Dainty 2002). Gestation is six to ten months with hatchlings between 10.2-11.7 cm TL (Dainty 2002). Dainty (2002) determined that at 50% maturity H. pictus is 15 years old and that they live to be 25 years old.

Maximum size is probably about 60 cm TL (Bass et al. 1975). Males are embryonic at 10.3 cm TL, juvenile at 16.5-36.9 cm TL, adolescent at 28.2-40.7 cm TL, and mature at 40.0-57.0 cm TL. Females are juvenile at 11.0-30.6 cm TL, adolescent at 43.0-53.3 cm TL, and mature at 35.9-59.7 cm TL (Human 2003, 2007).
Systems: Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The main threat is recreational fishing where this shark is commonly taken as discarded bycatch, generally regarded as a nuisance by the fishermen, and persecuted as such. Survival rates from recreational angling are unknown, although are presumed to be low (Human 2003, 2007). It is not seen in other inshore fishery activities (Human 2003, 2007). A possible threat, due to the very shallow habitat preference for this endemic species, is this sharks potential vulnerability to habitat degradation. The recreational catch of this species needs to be monitored, and the fishers educated. Habitat loss is a minor threat, as its range in southern Namibia and northwest South Africa coincide with relatively low human population densities, although its range east of, and including, Cape Town, falls within coastline that is relatively densely populated by humans.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: No conservation measures are in place for this species at present. However the population appears to be stable given the anecdotal evidence. Appropriate habitat and catch monitoring is recommended for the near future.

Citation: Human, B. 2009. Haploblepharus pictus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 03 September 2014.
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