Scientific name..........Cephaloscyllium Ventriosum
swellshark cannot be mistaken for any other shark. It is a large
strongly varigated catshark with a broad rounded snout and small
dorsal fins on the rear half of the body, and is covered in large,
spiky denticles. These sharks are named swellsharks, because they
are able to balloon themselves up by swallowing water when
distressed. They position themselves in a rock crevice or other
narrow hiding place, until they are wedged tightly inside and are
safe from potential predators.
sharks can reach a maximum length of 3.6 feet. Males attain maturity
at 32.2 to 33.5 inches. These sharks hatch at 6 inches long.
They have extremely large jaws with small pointy teeth, very
effective for capturing fish. They have up to 70 rows of multicusped
teeth in the upper jaw and 65 rows in the lower jaw.
patterning of dark brown blotches and saddle-like patterns on the
yellow to brown background of its back, along with small dark spots
on its belly and flanks, provides good camouflage for this sedentary
sharks are nocturnal and feeds on fish and crustaceans. This shark
is a sit-and-wait predator ready to ambush their prey. Swellsharks
have two different feeding techniques. With their larger size of
jaws and oral cavity it allows them to swallow larger prey and
create a greater vacuum when inhaling their catch. One is the
"gulp", it will rapidly open its mouth and expand its gill and mouth
cavities to suck in its prey that has come too close. The second
technique is the "yawn", when a prey moves toward the swellshark it
will slowly open its mouth and wait until the prey fish swims into
its gaping jaws. Because of the great number of small, multipronged
teeth helps the sharks to grasp slime-coated fishes.
Relatively sluggish and mainly nocturnal, lies motionless in rocky
caves and crevices by day, often in small groups, and swims slowly
at night. Inflates stomach when disturbed to wedge itself into
Swellsharks are found in temperate eastern Pacific, from central
California, USA, to southern Mexico, and central Chile. You will see
this species in caves and among shallow rocks and crevices around
kelp forests, at depths from 30' to 200' feet.
swellsharks are oviparous, with the female laying large, greenish
amber eggs among seaweeds. These purse-shaped eggs hatch after 7 to
10 months, depending on the temperature of the water. The young are
about 6" inches long. The unhatched juveniles use their enlarged
dermal denticles to pry themselves free of the egg case.
shark is quite shy and harmless unless handled or provoked.
uncommon. Not commonly fished.