A shark unique in its family in that it may tolerate brackish and fresh water

The Slender bambooshark, (Chiloscyllium indicum), is a shark belonging to the family Hemiscylliidae found in the Indo-west Pacific Oceans. The Slender bambooshark is a bit different from other sharks in its genus because adults are not without patterns. They have dark spots and dashes. This shark may be found in brackish and fresh water, which would make it all the more unique, but poses an interesting area of study. Perhaps more sharks belonging to this family group may enter brackish or fresh water environments.


Family: Hemiscylliidae – Longtail Carpetsharks

Genus: Chiloscyllium 

Species: indicum


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles


Common NameCarpet Sharks

Family– Hemiscylliidae

Common NameLongtail Carpetsharks or Bamboo Sharks




Average Size and Length: Hatchlings have been recorded under 13 cm/ 5.1 inches. Mature males have been recorded between 39-42 cm/ 1.3-1.4 feet. Mature females have been recorded at 43 cm/ 1.4 feet. The maximum recorded has been 65 cm/ 2.1 feet.

Teeth and Jaw: The mouth is located in front of the eyes and it is small and terminal. It is closer to the eyes than the tip of the snout.

Head: The pre-oral snout is long. The nostrils are subterminal on the snout. The eyes and supraorbital ridges are hardly elevated.

Tail: The precaudal tail is extremely slender and long. The caudal fin has a pronounced subterminal notch but without a ventral lobe.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Slender bambooshark can be found in the Indo-west Pacific in Sri Lanka, to Indonesia, China and Taiwan Island (40°N – 10°S, 65°E – 160°E). They could also be found in the Arabian Sea to the Solomon Islands, Korea to Japan. They can be found inshore on the bottom. They are possibly found in fresh water in the lower Perak River in Malaysia. Therefore, they may or may not be oceanodromous. They are considered demersal tropical, but found in marine, brackish and fresh water. Their known depth range is from 0-295 feet.

Aesthetic Identification: The Slender bambooshark has numerous dark spots, bars or saddles, and dashes on a light brown dorsal background. They are a cream color ventrally. There are no prominent black edges to saddles on juvenile sharks. They have a very slender body with dermal ridges on the middle of the back and lateral ridges. The dorsal fins can have straight or convex rear margins. The anal fin is set far back on a very slender and long tail. The origin of the first dorsal fin is opposite or just behind the pelvic fin insertions. The dorsal fins are round, same size, and smaller than the pelvic fins.

Biology and Reproduction: Little is known about their biology, but they are oviparous. The eggcases are more than likely oval in shape and are laid in pairs.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: There is not much known about their behavior.

Speed: They are more than likely sluggish.

Slender Bambooshark Future and Conservation: They are considered near threatened. They are important to inshore fisheries; they are used for food. Their inshore habitat may be under threat and their range may be over fished.

Slender Bambooshark Recorded Attacks on Humans: Not a threat to humans.