Author: Müller and Henle, 1838
Mouth well in front of eyes, spineless dorsal fins far posterior on tail, greatly elongated thick precaudal tail, long and low anal fin just anterior to caudal fin, no lateral ridges on trunk, dorsal fins with elongated free rear tips, first dorsal origin opposite anterior halves of pelvic bases, usually no colour pattern in adults but young with transverse bands and a few dark spots.
Body and tail moderately slender; snout rounded anteriorly; no lateral ridges on trunk. Dorsal fins large and angular, somewhat larger than pelvic fins, dorsals with projecting free rear tips; interdorsal space fairly short, slightly greater than first dorsal base; first dorsal origin over anterior halves of pelvic bases; origin of anal fin somewhat behind free rear tip of first dorsal, anal fin length from origin to free rear tip somewhat less than hypural caudal lobe from lower caudal origin to free rear tip. Colour light brown in adults, usually without a colour pattern, but young with dark transverse spots and usually a scattering of small blackish spots.
Indo-West Pacific: India, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Viet Nam, China (including Taiwan Island), Japan, the Philippines, Australia ' (Northern Territory, Western Australia, Queensland).
Habitat and Biology:
A common inshore bottom shark found on coral reefs, often in tidepools. Very tenacious of life, can survive out of water for a long period (half a day). Oviparous, deposited in rounded egg cases. Gills sometimes infested by larval isopods (Praniza-larva of the isopod Gnathia).
Maximum total length about 104 cm.
Interest to Fisheries:
Regularly taken in inshore fisheries in India and Thailand, and utilized for human food. In Australia it is taken in beach seines and on hook-and-line and is said to prefer squid bait; it is little utilized but regarded as good eating.
Müller and Henle listed "Scyllium punctatum Kuhl and van Hasselt" under their Chiloscyllium punctatum, but I was unable to examine Kuhl and van Hasselt's (or van Hasselt's) account of their species and so could not determine if Scyllium punctatum as proposed by them was a valid species and not a nomen nudum. As a present expedient I list Müller and Henle's account as the first valid description of this species. Fowler (1967, Catalog of World Fishes Part VI:103) termed this species Chiloscyllium russellianum, because the Squalus (Scyliorhinus) russellianus of Blainville (1816) was "assumed as based on Bokee sorah Russell, F. of Coromandel I 1803, 10 pl. 16. Vizagapatam, India" (Fowler, 1967a). However, Fowler (had earlier hesitated to replace the well-used C. punctatum with Blainville's nomen nudum (even if Blainville's use of the name russellianus indicated a possibly recognizable species), which is followed here.
Holotype: Rijksmuseum van Natuurlijke Historie, Leiden. Type Locality: Java.