Contrary to their common name, pyjama sharks (Poroderma africanum) do not stay in their pj's... but boy, don't we wish. With unmistakable stripes running down the length of their bodies, and two dorsal fins that are at the waaaay back, these cuties are one-of-a-kind.
Reaching a maximum length of 3.1 feet (95 cm), they can be observed from the continental shelf to the upper slope down to 282 metres (925.2 ft) deep. Usually on or near the bottom in rocky areas, they can be seen in caves either resting (they are often nocturnal) or putting those short nasal barbels to use and sniffing out prey. What do they eat? A variety of fish, small sharks, shark eggcases, hagfish (slimy!!) and a range of invertebrates.
Found in the southeast Atlantic and western Indian Oceans, they are endemic to South Africa (both Capes, rarely found in KwaZulu-Natal). An oviparous species, they lay a pair of eggcases. Also known as the "Striped Catshark," the IUCN has assessed them as Near Threatened (NT) due to pressure from commercial and sports fisheries.
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TFUI Founder Melissa C. Marquez is author of all animal bios and "Behind the Fins" segments.
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