skip to main content

Sea Life, Animals
& Exhibits

Click/Touch photo to view enlargement.

Whitespotted Bamboo Shark

(Chilscyillium plagiosum)

Whitespotted bamboo sharks have a slender body that allows it to fit between coral branches and hide in tight spaces during day. Young and adults have a brown body color with transverse dark bands and numerous irregular white or bluish spots. They can be distinguished from other bamboo sharks by this unique coloration pattern. Their pectoral fins are muscular and can be used to crawl around on the bottoms.


They inhabit the Indo-West Pacific region from India to Indonesia, the Philippines, China, Korea and southern Japan. Found around tropical inshore bottoms and coral reefs in shallow and intertidal areas.


They are nocturnal hunters and use their electrorecptors and sense of smell and feed mainly on small fish and crustaceans.


The female lays two egg capsules at a time approximately every week over a two-month period. Hatching occurs in about 128 days and pups are about 4 to 5 inches long.

It has been found that females of this species can produce viable offspring asexually via parthenogenesis. This refers to the female’s being able to create and sustain a shark pup without a male shark and without ever having mated. This has only ever been observed in the cases of sharks in captivity, but may well occur in the wild where there is a severe shortage of male sharks.


Larger sharks are predators of the Whitespotted Bamboo Shark. The white-spotted bamboo shark is listed as “Near Threatened” by the World Conservation Union (IUCN). Threats to this animal include collection for human consumption and habitat degradation due to dynamite and cyanide fishing. Marine debris, or any garbage that ends up in the ocean, instead of the landfill or recycling center, is also a problem.