Grey Carpetshark, Chiloscyllium punctatum Click to enlarge image
A Grey Carpetshark in the lagoon at Lady Eliott Island, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, 26th June 2015. Image: Alison Harmer
© Alison Harmer

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    punctatum
    Genus
    Chiloscyllium
    Family
    Hemiscylliidae
    Order
    Orectolobiformes
    Class
    Chondrichthyes
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    It grows to about 1.5 m in length.

Introduction

The Grey Carpetshark is a small, grey to brown fish that occurs throughout the tropical and subtropical Indo-west Pacific.



Identification

The Grey Carpetshark is a small slender species with small eyes, nasal barbels and two similar-sized dorsal fins. It lacks a lower caudal fin lobe. Adults are brown or grey, juveniles have about 10 vertical bands.



Distribution

The species occurs throughout the tropical and subtropical Indo-west Pacific. In Australia it is known from inshore tropical and subtropical waters.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.



Feeding and diet

The species feeds on benthic invertebrates.

Breeding behaviours

It lays eggs cases that are about 11 cm long and 5 cm wide. In the movie below, Ryan Kempster, shark biologist at the University of Western Australia, talks about the senses and survival strategy of the Grey Carpetshark, Chiloscyllium punctatum. In Australia, the family Hemiscylliidae is represented by 3 species in 2 genera (Chiloscyllium and Hemiscyllium).  Some species such as the Grey Carpetshark are oviparous, laying egg cases, called mermaid's purses.



References

  1. Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.
  2. Last, P.R. & J.D. Stevens. 2009. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Edition 2. CSIRO. Pp. 644, Pl. 1-91.