Why don't we eat cartilaginous fish
What do bamboo sharks look like?
When the typical triangular dorsal fin appears above the surface of the sea, everyone knows: It's a shark!
Sharks belong to the group of cartilaginous fish. This means that they don't have real bones: their skeleton is made up of a cartilaginous substance.
These fish are considered to be the seas' most feared predators, although most of them are small and harmless.
The white-spotted bamboo shark is just as torpedo-shaped as the large shark, but it is no more than a meter long.
It is colored brown and spotted with many white spots, and it has vertical, almost black, wide stripes.
But the older the bamboo sharks get, the more their typical polka-dot and stripe pattern changes: the stripes become increasingly pale and finally disappear completely.
It is typical for them that their two dorsal fins are about the same size as their pelvic fins.
The anal fin (that is the rearmost fin on the ventral side) ends directly in front of the caudal fin, which is quite long for a shark - it makes up a quarter of its body length.
The mouth is on the underside of the head, far in front of the eyes.
On the side of the head you can see the gill slits - they are used for breathing, since sharks have no lungs, but like all fish, take in oxygen from the water through their gills.
If you were to touch a bamboo shark (which you should definitely not do!), You would be in for a surprise:
As with all sharks, its skin is as rough as a grater; so rough in fact that you can abrade your skin on it.
Bamboo sharks are kept in many zoos and aquariums. They are harmless and do not attack people.
Where do bamboo sharks live?
The white-spotted bamboo shark lives in the western Pacific and Indian Oceans. This means that it can be found in the tropical sea off India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, China, Taiwan, Japan, Western Australia and the Philippines.
Bamboo sharks live near the shore and on sea reefs.
There they swim between corals and rocks just above the sea floor.
They are usually found in water depths of three to 100 meters, but sometimes they also remain in so-called shallow tidal pools - these are water points that are filled with water even at low tide.
What types of bamboo sharks are there?
There are around 20 different types of bamboo sharks.
They include, for example, the Arabian Bamboo Shark, the Blue Dotted Bamboo Shark, the Banded Bamboo Shark, the Gray Bamboo Shark and the Slim Bamboo Shark.
They all live in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
How old do bamboo sharks get?
Bamboo sharks can live up to 25 years in the zoo. They probably don't live that long in nature.
How do bamboo sharks live?
Bamboo sharks are nocturnal loners.
During the day you will hardly get to see them because they hide in caves and crevices in the coral reef or in the rocks to sleep.
At night they look for food on the bottom and between the corals and rocks.
They swim with slightly undulating movements of their body, the caudal fin is the main drive. Since bamboo sharks, like all cartilaginous fish, do not have a swim bladder in their body that allows them to float in the water, they have to keep moving in order not to sink to the sea floor.
Otherwise little is known about the life of bamboo sharks. Although they are among the most common small sharks kept in aquariums, little is known about their behavior.
Friends and enemies of the bamboo shark
The main enemy of the bamboo sharks is humans: In Asia they are fished and eaten. They are also used in Chinese medicine.
How do bamboo sharks reproduce?
When bamboo sharks are three or four years old, they become sexually mature. Males and females mate, and the eggs are fertilized inside the female.
The female then lays a maximum of two eggs at a time on the sea floor. So that they are protected, they have a solid, outer shell. The eggs are eight to ten inches long, four inches wide and square.
They have strange, spiral-shaped threads on the corners. These threads are used to twine around water plants or stones and to hold the egg tight so that it does not swim away in the current.
The shark babies hatch after 85 to 110 days. Bamboo sharks do not care for their offspring.
The young sharks are independent as soon as they hatch and start a life of their own.
What do bamboo sharks eat?
Bamboo sharks are predatory fish and only feed on small animals found on the seabed and in coral reefs. These include crabs, clams, snails, and other small fish.
If they are kept in the zoo aquarium, bamboo sharks need a varied diet of crabs, pieces of fish, squid and crabs.
Keeping bamboo sharks
Bamboo sharks are among the most common sharks kept in aquariums. However, they are not suitable for the aquarium at home: They are much too big and have high demands.
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