This catshark may lay eggs or birth live pups

The Speckled catshark (Halaelurus boesemani) is a catshark belonging to the family Scyliorhinidae. It is found in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia, and possibly some other locations. It occurs at depths of between 121-299 feet and is considered vulnerable. They are distinguished by their striking saddles and spots.


Family: Scyliorhinidae – Catsharks

Genus: Halaelurus 

Species: boesemani


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles


Common NameGround Sharks

Family– Scyliorhinidae

Common NameCatsharks




Average Size and Length: When hatchlings are born, they measure greater than 7 cm. Adult males have measured between 42-48 cm/1.3-1.6 feet. Adult females have measured between 43-47 cm/1.4-1.5 feet. The maximum recorded is 48 cm/1.6 feet.

Current Rare Mythical Sightings: In the past, this species was thought to occur both in the western Indian Ocean and in the waters around Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Western Australia, between latitudes 21° N and 26° S. However, two new species of Halaelurus have been described from these latter areas.

Teeth and Jaw: The mouth is small. Males have larger teeth than females. The teeth are pointed with one long cusp. There are notches on either side, that are so miniscule, maybe shouldn’t be considered cusplets.

Head: The snout is pointed but not upturned. The eyes are raised above the head. The gills are raised, and placed on the upper surface of the head just above and behind the mouth.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Speckled catshark can be found in the Indo-west Pacific Ocean around Somalia, the Gulf of Aden, previously, they were thought to be found in western Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam, but more than likely this is a different species. They are found over continental and insular shelves between 121-299 feet, to possibly 820 feet. They are considered demersal.

Aesthetic Identification: The Speckled catshark has about 8 dark saddles separated by narrower bars on a yellow-brown back and tail. There are dark blotches on the dorsal and caudal fins, and numerous small scattered dark spots on the body, dorsal fins and caudal fins. The front of the first dorsal fin is situated above the hind third of the pelvic fin, while the front of the second dorsal fin, which is about the same size as the first, is situated above the hind third of the anal fin.

Biology and Reproduction: Unknown. They could be oviparous or ovoviviparous. Four egg cases have been found inside the oviduct of a female but it is unclear whether the eggs hatch internally, or the cases are deposited onto the seabed and the eggs develop there.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Unknown.

Speckled Catshark Future and Conservation: They are considered vulnerable. Fisheries in Somalia are largely unregulated, with foreign-owned vessels fishing illegally. Artisanal fisheries are unlikely to target the Speckled catshark because of its small size, nevertheless it is vulnerable to being caught as bycatch in both trawling and netting operations.

Speckled Catshark Recorded Attacks on Humans: Not a threat to humans.