Leopard Catsharks are endemic to South Africa in the southeast Atlantic Ocean and the western Indian Ocean at depths up to 256 m.
Biology and Behaviour
Leopard catsharks have stocky build with long, prominent nasal barbels. They have a pattern of black spots, rings and horizontal rows on a grey or off-white background. There are three types of patterns on their back which varies for every leopard catshark: pantherinum has lines and rosettes of spots, marleyi has large dark spots, and salt and pepper has small, tightly packed black spots along the leopard catshark’s back.
Leopard catsharks commonly live at the bottom of warm-temperate waters on rocky reefs and kelp forests. They are usually found at less than 20 m deep.
Like many other catsharks, leopard catsharks are nocturnal creatures that become active at night to hunt for bony fish, crustaceans, octopus and bristle worms.
Reproduction and Lifespan
Leopard catsharks are oviparous, and females lay eggs in pairs. For males, they are juvenile at 10 to 51.9 cm long, are adolescent at 46.9 to 67.2 cm long and they mature at 60.7 to 77.4 cm in length. Females are juvenile at 9.4 to 48.5 cm long, are adolescents at 43 to 64.1 cm long and mature at 50.7 to 66.6 cm in length. Leopard catsharks can grow to a length of up to 84 cm
Conservation and Tourism
The IUCN lists leopard catsharks as data deficient since more information about the species is needed. They are frequently caught for the aquarium trade because of the colour and patterns on their back.
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