Common name: White Spotted Bamboo Shark
Scientific name: Chiloscyllium plagiosum
Species: C. plagiosum
When you hear the name white spotted bamboo shark, you might get the impression that its body is stiff as bamboo or is full of big white spots, that is partly true, as babies their body consists of many white spots, but as they mature they begin to fade out, and have much more distinct patterns among their slender body. The patterns consist of bands of dark colors such as tan, dark blue or even black. Others have tiny spots of color with more of a faded look. You might not believe this but the average size of a male Chiloscyllium plagiosum, is only about two feet long, but for a female its about three feet.
This shark, because of its size, lives very close to the shore often in slightly deep water. Because they live so close to the shore not many things harm this animal. According to a scientist as far as they know the only predators they have are humans. In some parts of china, India, and Thailand they are eaten for their delectable fins. Their eyes are commonly used in their medicines. They have dorsal fins that have rounded edges. Their bottom fin or the pectoral fins are very muscular. They have oval shaped pupils and have a very short rounded snout. Also, pointed sensory organs called barbells attached to their nostril. They must have a good sense of smell because at night they must maneuver to find food. These sharks live in many different places such as India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia Singapore Thailand, Vietnam, China, Japan, and the Philippines. Considering where they live they consume invertebrates, small fish and, crustaceans in the wild but in captivity, they are often fed calm juice, minerals, squid, trout chow, and other vitamins.
They tend to strive well in the wild; because they have few predators they are surviving in this ecosystem but do to the global warming the reefs in which they live are being affected. As of today there is no exact population number, but scientists know that their population is growing. More now are in captivity as pets. In order to have this shark as a pet you must have at least 120 gallons of water with a diet of meaty chunks of squid or scallops. The average life span of this shark in the wild is about 25 years although in captivity it is not known.
Some scientists say that their population of white spotted bamboo shark is growing because they are not heavily preyed upon. The invertebrates that they eat are very common among where they live. Mostly the population is growing because people themselves are now breeding them. The white spotted bamboo shark is nocturnal, meaning it feeds at night. So, what other animals are awake then? Well, clams and the invertebrates that they prey upon are not nocturnal. So does that mean that they are asleep? They are asleep, but does that actually make it easier to get food? It depends on the way you think about it. It may make it easier, because they will not defend. But on the other hand it might make it harder because at night most animals have some kind of defense mechanism that they use to stay safe. In the end they do have some advantages and some disadvantages. Overall we are the only main predators of this animal. Living in deep water and being nocturnal means that they may have to work a little harder to get food. This species has been around for about 20 years, and well the population is doing pretty good. But do the global warming the reefs are being affected, so there is no way to tell what will happen to these.
Author: Iman E.
Sources: Mitternacht90. En:Whitespotted bambooshark. Digital image. Wikipedia.org. Ranier Froese and Daniel Pauly. "White spotted bamboo shark." Wikipedia.org. Kindersley, Dorling (2001,2005). 06 Feb. 2009 . Researched and written by the Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo Education Volunteers. "White-spotted Bamboo Shark." http://www.rosamondgiffordzoo.org/animals/Fish/WhiteSpottedBambooShark.pdf. 29 Mar. 2006.