White-Spotted Catshark

About the White-Spotted Catshark

The Holohalaelurus Punctatus, also known as the African Spotted Catshark and White-Spotter Catshark,  is an endemic species of the southwestern Indian Ocean. This shark belongs to the Scyliorhinidae family.


This species is broad-headed, dwarf, catshark with small dark brown spots closely set on a yellow-brown background; small black pores on the underside of head and body and have no labial furrows.

Males appear to obtain greater maximum length compared to females, a trait common to Holohalaelurus sharks. The maximum record size of this species is 34.0 cm TL. Males reach maturity at 29.8 – 32.6 cm TL. Females reach maturity after the 23.6 cm TL.


The White-Spotted Catshark is oviparous, with one egg-case laid per oviduct at a time. Embryos feed solely on yolk and partial segregation is manifested by a greater number of females off natal but not off southern Mozambique.


Its known depth range is 220 – 420 m. its life history is unknown. There may be two populations of H. Punctatus, one occurring off the coast of South Africa and Mozambique, and the other off Madagascar, however, in the absence of data, this is speculative.


There are no conservation actions currently in place for this species. Recently an offshore observer program has been launched in South Africa, and observers should be placed on demersal trawlers in the KwaZulu-Natal region and should be trained to identify and record all catches of this species. Possible bycatch information on this species needs to be sought.

Under the FAO International Plan of Action for the conservation and management of sharks, development of a plan for all chondrichthyans is currently being considered in South Africa.


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Scientific NameHolohalaelurus Punctatus
OrderGround Sharks - Carcharhiniformes
CitesNot Listed
Litter Size1
SpeciesHolohalaelurus Punctatus
Common Length29.8 - 32.6 cm
Max Lenght35.0 cm
Depth Range220 - 440 m
DistributionWestern Indian Ocean, Southern and Antarctic Indian Ocean