The red-spotted cat shark (Schroederichthys chilensis), also known as the Chilean spotted cat shark, belongs to the superorder of the shark, the class includes cartilaginous fish.
Distribution of red-spotted cat shark.
The red-spotted cat shark lives in coastal waters, starting from the central part of Peru in southern Chile in the eastern Pacific Ocean. This species is endemic to these areas.Red-spotted cat shark (Schroederichthys chilensis)
Habitats of a red-spotted cat shark.
Red-spotted cat sharks are found in the rocky sublittoral zone on the border of the continental shelf. Their distribution appears to be seasonal, on rocky sites in spring, summer, and autumn, and in winter in deeper offshore waters. It is believed that such a movement occurs due to the strong current in the winter. Red-spotted cat sharks usually stay in the waters in the range from one to fifty meters in depth. In the coastal zone, at depths of 8 to 15 m in the summer and from 15 to 100 m in the winter.
External signs of a red-spotted cat shark.
Red-spotted cat sharks grow to a maximum size of 66 cm. The body length of the female is from 52 to 54 cm, the male - from 42 to 46 cm.
This shark species has an elongated smooth body, typical of the entire family.
They have five gill slits, with a fifth gill opening located above the pectoral fins. They have two dorsal fins without spines; the first dorsal fin is located above the pelvic area. There is almost no upward bend on the tail.
Red-spotted cat sharks are distinguished by a dark reddish-brown coloration of the back and a creamy white tinge of the belly. They have dark spots below the body and dark red markings on white areas.
The number of teeth in males is often greater with fewer flaps, which are thought to be needed to “bite” the females during the “courtship”.
Reproduction of a red-spotted cat shark.
Red-spotted feline sharks breed relatively seasonally, groups of individuals of different sexes appear in winter, spring and summer near San Antonio, Chile, Farinha and Ojeda. However, in some cases, female sharks lay their encapsulated eggs throughout the year.
In red-spotted feline sharks, there is a certain ritual of courtship during mating, in which the male bites the female when she fertilizes the eggs.
This species of oviparous sharks, fertilized eggs usually develop in the oviduct. They are encapsulated, usually two eggs in each capsule. Embryos develop due to stocks of yolk. Young sharks appear 14 cm long, they are miniature copies of adult sharks and immediately become independent, heading to deep water. It is believed that fry swim in deeper waters, in order to avoid predation in the sublittoral zone, and return to their usual habitat when they become adults. Thus, there is a spatial separation between adults and young, growing sharks. Red-spotted cat sharks grow rapidly, but the age at which puberty is reached is unknown. Life expectancy in the wild has not been established.
The behavior of a red-spotted cat shark.
Red-spotted cat sharks are single fish. They lead a nocturnal lifestyle, remaining in caves and crevices during the day, and go out at night for feeding. In the winter months, they descend into deeper waters, in the rest of the year they move along the edges of the continental shelf. It is believed that this movement is associated with a strong current at this time of year. Red-spotted cat sharks, like most other sharks of the Scyliorhinidae family, have developed sense of smell and electrical receptors, with the help of which fish can sense electrical impulses emitted by other animals and also orient themselves by magnetic fields.
Cat sharks got their name because of the presence of a vertical oval pupil of the eye. They have good vision, even in dim light.
Eating a red-spotted cat shark.
Red-spotted cat predator sharks feeding on various small bottom organisms. Their main food is crabs and shrimp. They also eat several species of other crustaceans, as well as fish, algae and polychaete worms.
Ecosystem role of red-spotted cat shark.
Red-spotted cat sharks are an important link in the food chains in their ecosystem. These predators control the number of organisms in benthic populations in the coastal zone.
Sharks are carriers of several parasites, including leeches, trypanosomes. Trypanosomes parasitize in the blood of fish and use their body as the main host.
Value to the person.
Red-spotted cat sharks are the subject of scientific research conducted in laboratories, they are caught for research purposes, so the catch of these fish can affect the number of small, local populations. But they damage industrial fisheries in Chile and Peru, as they feed on crustaceans, the fishing of which is of great economic importance in some countries.
The conservation status of the red-spotted cat shark.
To register red-spotted cat sharks on the Red List, there is too little data on the number of individuals and threats to this species. They are caught as by-catch in coastal, bottom and longline fisheries. It is not known whether red-spotted cat sharks are vulnerable or threatened with extinction. Therefore, no conservation measures are applied to them.