28 February 2012

New arrivals! Tiger catsharks makes us weak at the knees

Helen Lockhart

Tiger catsharks have hatched at the Aquarium! Two Oceans Aquarium Communications and Sustainability Manager Helen Lockhart shares news of new arrivals.

I’m sitting in my office and I hear some of my colleagues next door cooing and exclaiming “Oh so cute!” I think to myself “Oh, someone has brought their kitten or puppy or baby to work,” (which happens on occasion), but when I go out to see what all the fuss is about I discover members of the marketing team bent over a container in which there are three baby tiger catsharks. It is certainly not every day that a bunch of women go weak at the knees over sharks!

tiger catshark
Two Oceans Aquarium creative studio co-ordinator and designer Jacinta Subjee with the new arrivals

Xavier Zylstra, a senior teacher at the Two Oceans Aquarium’s Environmental Education Centre, is “midwife and shark-daddy” extraordinaire and, like any proud father, he was thrilled to show off these beautiful little creatures.

The catsharks, which hatched in the last three weeks, are offspring of the adults that can be seen in the touch pool in the Oceans of Contrast: Atlantic Ocean Gallery

Catsharks have a habit of curling up and covering their eyes with their tails when threatened or caught.

Catsharks are oviparous: females lay egg cases that are known as “mermaid’s purses”. These egg cases contain the embryo and yolk supply, and the young shark eventually hatches out of the case. Empty mermaid’s purses are often found washed up along the shore.

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mermaid's purse
A mermaid's purse. Photo by Dagny Warmerdam
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