WESTERN SPOTTED GUMMY SHARK OR WHITESPOTTED GUMMY SHARK
The Western Spotted Gummy shark or also known as the Whitespotted Gummy shark (Mustelus stevensi but previously sp. B) is a species of shark belonging to the Triakidae family, found in tropical northern Australian waters. This is a recently described species of shark and is similar to other sharks in its genus. It is currently of least concern.
Family: Triakidae – Houndsharks
Common Name– Ground Sharks
Common Name– Houndsharks
Status: IUCN Red List LEAST CONCERN
Average Size and Length: Mature females have been measured between 60-70 cm/1.9-2.3 feet. The longest recorded is 117 cm/3.8 feet.
Teeth and Jaw: Buccopharyngeal denticles cover the entire palate and floor of mouth; the teeth are low cusped, flat and pavement like good for crushing. There are about 72/75 teeth rows.
Head: The lower edge of the spiracle is usually at level with the lower edge of the eye.
Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Western Spotted Gummy shark or Whitespotted Gummy shark can be found in tropical northern Australia on the continental shelf deep between 396-1,319 feet in the eastern Indian Ocean. It is considered benthopelagic.
Diet: They feed on crustaceans, mostly crabs, cephalopods and fish.
Aesthetic Identification: The Western Spotted Gummy shark or Whitespotted gummy shark is a slender shark that is greyish brown or yellowish grey in color with many irregular white spots on the head and body. The dorsal fins sometimes have dark tips. Juvenile sharks are more strongly marked. Other fins sometimes have light marks with the trailing fin edges pale. The dorsal fins are somewhat tall. The posterior margin is mostly upright distally, the first dorsal-fin base length is 1.6-2.1 times anal-caudal space. The long claspers of the adult males are slender and are strongly depressed, with the inner length about 8-11% of the total length, reaching to the level of the second dorsal-fin origin. The anal-fin insertion is slightly anterior to its apex. There is a variation between the Western Spotted Gummy shark and the Eastern Spotted Gummy shark. This shark is also very similar to the Gummy shark, but the ranges do not overlap.
Biology and Reproduction: They are viviparous having 4-17 pups per litter. There are 76-80 precaudal vertebral centra and 33-35 monospondylous centra.
Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Unknown.
Western Spotted Gummy Shark or Whitespotted Gummy Shark Future and Conservation: They are currently of least concern. More than likely they are widespread and are not typical bycatch of fisheries because most of its range is unfished.