Redspotted Catshark, Chilean Catshark.
Body slender. Snout very short and rounded. Mouth width about 2x snout length. First dorsal origin approximately level with pelvic fin insertion. Second dorsal fin level with middle of anal fin base. Dorsal fins approximately equal in size. Dorsal coloration light brown with large dark brown saddles and small black spots. Spots scattered; not corresponding to saddle shape. Lower half of 3rd saddle (saddle anterior to first dorsal), extends forward towards along flank.
Maximum length 60cm.
A temperate water species. On or near the bottom in rocky reefs, kelp beds, estuaries, and sandy bays. Found from very shallow water to 100m. Most commonly encountered between 8-15m. Deeper in winter.
Southeastern Pacific. The redspotted catshark ranges from Ancon in Peru to Chiloe in southern Chile.
Information concerning the Chilean catshark’s population status is scarce. A bycatch species of inshore demersal trawl and longline fisheries, however, species-specific catch information is not available. This species is a popular laboratory animal and over-collecting for research purposes may impact small, localized populations. Insufficient information available to assess the species beyond Data Deficient at this time.
Citations and References
Lamilla, J. 2004. Schroederichthys chilensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2004: e.T44585A10909182. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2004.RLTS.T44585A10909182.en. Downloaded on 23 November 2020.
Oviparous. Single egg per oviduct. Egg cases have long tendrils that the shark tangles around kelp fronds.
Diet mostly consists of small crustaceans and other invertebrates.
Moves into deeper water during the winter.
Reaction to divers
Apparently unconcerned about predators, the Chilean catshark is very easy to watch closely as it swims slowly along the reef, or rests in crevices.
Any inshore reefs between Santiago and Coquimbo are probably good places to look for this species. Research indicates they may be less abundant in the winter months when they apparently move into deeper water.
Perhaps one of the best places to dive with redspotted catsharks is at Las Tacas just south of Coquimbo in central Chile.
Divers staying in Coquimbo can find Chilean catsharks on night dives in the bay right in front of the dock of Bahia Sol Dive Lodge.
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