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36. Honeycomb Izak

Holohalaelurus favus

About

The honeycomb izak is a relatively large species of catshark found off the coasts of South Africa and Mozambique. It has not been seen since the 1970s!

The honeycomb izak was regularly collected by fishing trawls throughout its range in the 1960s and early 70s. Since the 1970s not a single specimen has been collected even with recent biodiversity surveys, indicating a quick and severe drop in population numbers. As a result, this species probably only exists in a single small population. It is unknown what has caused this apparent population decline. As the numbers of individuals being caught in trawls dropped off in a very short period of time, it is unlikely that fishing pressure was the cause, but it is unknown whether habitat loss, pollution or an unidentified threat is the reason for this decline.

There are currently no conservation actions in place for this species. The IUCN Red List of threatened species recommends that surveys are conducted below 200m in order to determine if this species is still extant. A shark action plan for the conservation of African sharks should also be a priority.

  • Order: Carcharhiniformes
  • Family: Pentanchidae
  • Population: Unknown
  • Trend: decreasing
  • Size: Up to 51.5cm (?)
  • Weight: Up to 301.3g
  • Depth Range (m): Up to 1,000m

EDGE Score

EDGE Score: 5.72 (?)
ED Score: 37.07 (?)
GE / IUCN Red List (?)
Not Evaluated Data Deficient Least Concern Near Threatened Vulnerable Endangered Critically Endangered Extinct in the Wild Extinct

Distribution

The honeycomb izak is found in the Western Indian Ocean off the coasts of South Africa and Mozambique.

Habitat and Ecology

Previous to 1975, the honeycomb izak was thought to be the same as the izak catshark (Holohalaelurus regani). As this species has not been collected since the 1970s, very little is known about its habitat and ecology. It is found at depths of 200-1000m and it is assumed it develops one egg case per uterus at a time similar to other members of this genus.

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