BRACHAELURIDAE BLIND SHARKS
The Brachaeluridae, or Blind sharks, are the family of sharks in the order Orectolobiformes. Only two species of Blind sharks occur, both of which are native to shallow coastal waters up to 450 feet deep, endemic off the eastern coast of Australia. The two genera in this family are Brachaelurus and Heteroscyllium. They can be found over rocky coral reefs, or in seaweed.
The Bind sharks are named so because they close their eyelids when they are out of water. Their eyes are fully functional.
The Brachaeluridae are small, stout sharks that are less than 80 cm/ 2.6 feet. They have 2 spineless dorsal fins that are set far back. The origin of the anal fin is well behind the origin of the second dorsal fin. The gap between the anal fin and the lower caudal fins is shorter than the length of the anal fin. The tail is relatively short.
There are large spiracles below and behind the eyes. There are nasoral and circumnarial grooves, as well as long barbels. The mouth is small and transverse in front of the eyes. There are no lateral skin flaps on the head.
Blind sharks are ovoviviparous. They have litters of 6 to 8 pups. The pups finish absorbing their large yolk-sacks just before they are born. They mainly feed on small fish, crustaceans, squid, cuttlefish and sea anemones. At least one of these two species can survive for long periods out of water.
Their geographic range is extremely restricted. One species is extremely rare. They do survive well in captivity and aquaria. In captivity, they can live to be 20 years old. They are mostly nocturnal, and reserve energy while hiding during the day. They have been successfully reared in home aquaria on diets of fresh and frozen seafood fed three times weekly. Waters at 64-76 °F have been found to be most conducive to the health of these sharks. Blind sharks have been known to consume any of their tankmates that they can swallow. Blind sharks have been induced to breed in captivity. The Sydney Aquarium has successfully maintained an entire breeding colony of blind sharks.