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This catshark is difficult to see in its rocky reef home—dark stripes from nose to tail disrupt the shark’s outline. A long body and narrow head allow the catshark to move in and out of caves and crevices. By day, this solitary shark rests in these hideouts, by night it actively hunts. Nasal barbels—fleshy feelers with sensors that can smell as well as feel—aid in finding food.
A shark can see in the dim light because a tapetum lucidum—a layer of silvery reflecting plates behind the retina—reflects like a mirror, increasing the amount of light the eye uses. At night, when a light shines on a catshark, its eyes appear to glow in the dark. Other animals rely on a tapetum lucidum too, including cats.
Pajama catsharks live in a small range that’s well populated and highly fished. At present, commercial and sport fisheries haven’t targeted this catshark, but more and more regional fisheries catch small sharks for the export market. As yet the pajama catshark has no specific protection.
When a fisherman catches a catshark, the shark curls its body until the tail covers its eyes. Cats often sleep this way—do you think that's how they got their name?
Cat sharks lay their fertilized eggs individually encased in hard, resistant, leathery capsules. They lay two egg cases every three days during breeding season. Development of the embryos may take about five and one-half months, after which the young hatch.