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Characteristics, distribution and ecology
Taxonomische classification
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Author: (Gmelin, 1789)

Field Marks:
The striking longitudinal stripes, nasal barbels and posterior dorsal fins of this catshark make it unmistakable.

Diagnostic Features:
Barbels of anterior nasal flaps short, less than half the nostril width, and usually not reaching mouth. Colour pattern of dark longitudinal stripes.

Geographical Distribution:
Eastern South Atlantic and western Indian Ocean: South Africa; also old records from Madagascar and Mauritius, but these require confirmation.

Habitat and Biology:
A common inshore temperate shark in waters of the Cape Province of South Africa, especially the southwestern Cape, on or near the bottom from close inshore at the surfline to 100 m. Commonly found in caves and in rocky areas. A hardy nocturnal species, readily kept in captivity.

Oviparous, laying a single egg-case per oviduct; in an aquarium an egg hatched after about 5 months.

Feeds heavily on crustaceans but also eats bony fishes and cephalopods.

Maximum 101 cm; males maturing between 58 and 78 cm and reaching 101 cm, females maturing between 65 and 72 cm and reaching 93 cm. Size at hatching from 14 to 15 cm.

Interest to Fisheries:
Limited, frequently taken by bottom trawlers and shore and boat anglers.

Type material:
Holotype: ?. Type Locality: "Mari Africanum".

Striped catshark (Poroderma africanum)