Carpet Shark Diary Part Two

Carpet Shark Diary Part Two

This has been an amazing month for the egg. The development has taken a huge step forward to the point where we can see the little guy or girl with a naked eye. It’ll still take a while before we can see the sex of the animal.

So the first thing that I saw, the week after the 1st diary update, was two small red lines that formed a red crescent on the yolk. This then turned in to a small red dot that was about 4mm wide. What was happening was the cells were forming into the beginnings of the embryo.

About a week after this observation, I could see a small little wiggling creature about 1cm long.  I can honestly say I was REALLY excited; think Christmas morning excited. It wasn’t until a week later that I could confirm that it was the baby shark growing.

The news of this has made all of the volunteers very excited and everyone has spent a lot of time watching it wiggle around in its case.  It's now about 2cm long and 2-3mm wide around the head. The “umbilical cord” attaches to the egg about one third along the embryo.

The egg also has shown some darkening on the underside of the egg around the yolk, with some pinching on the egg case at the “pointy” end.

As I said in my 1st up-date, I thought I would have seen a lot more darkening in the egg case, but it hasn’t happened yet.  I’m thinking it could be due to being in shallower water and exposed to more light than normal in the wild where it most likely would be laid deeper and surrounded by seaweed.

This is really exciting.  Not only may we get to watch a baby shark grow from an egg to a fully formed adult, but we also get to help out science in NZ as this species is not found anywhere else in the world.  So it’s like the Kiwi and the Tuatara, and will only be found in our waters.

So far the embryo is looking great.   It’s been 12 weeks now so it’s getting to the fun stage where we’ll see it grow larger and begin to gain colour.  Everyone should come down to the Bait House Aquarium on any Sunday from 10am to 3pm and have a look at it  

I’ll  update you all in a month or two, so keep an eye out.
Eddie (Future Marine Biologist)