Finally, after almost a year, our first Carpet Shark egg has hatched this morning at our Island Bay Marine Education Centre.
We now have this most beautiful baby shark in our Centre. She's 130 mm long and is so far in excellent health.
This species is oviparous (egg laying), with females laying smooth, tendril-bearing egg capsules in pairs. This baby's mother laid 8 eggs over a week and our New Arrival is the first to hatch.
Very little is known about the life history of these sharks. Carpet Sharks (Cephaloscyllium isabellum), so named for their "checkerboard" color pattern of dark blotches, are a species of Cat Shark, and are only found in New Zealand.
Also known as the Draughtsboard Shark, this shark typically reaches 1 m (3.3 ft) in length and has a thick body with a broad, flattened head and a capacious mouth. Its two dorsal fins are placed far back on the body, with the first much larger than the second.
Occurring down to a depth of 673 m (2,208 ft), the Carpet Shark frequents rocky reefs during the day and sandy flats at night. Its diet consists of fishes and invertebrates. When threatened by a predator, it can take water or air into its body to inflate its body, which may be the cause of its unusual habit of barking like a dog.These sharks are often taken as by catch by commercial fisheries, but are probably hardy enough to survive the experience. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed this species under Least Concern.