NATAL SHYSHARK

Natal Shyshark (Haploble­pharus kist­nasamyi, Red List IUCN sta­tus: Crit­i­cally En­dan­gered)

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A ben­thic species that lives in shal­low coastal wa­ters, the natal shyshark can be found in the surf zone and shal­low rocky reefs at a depth of less than 30 me­tres in a small area of South Africa from the West­ern Cape to KwaZulu-Natal. Coastal de­vel­op­ment has de­stroyed its habi­tat par­tic­u­larly in the vicin­ity of Dur­ban. Heavy fish­ing in the area has also af­fected its num­bers. Sci­en­tif­i­cally named af­ter South African shark re­searcher Nat Krist­nasamy, who orig­i­nally dis­cov­ered it, the natal shyshark is so named be­cause they can curl into a ring and cover their eyes with their tails when threat­ened. What is known about the crit­i­cally en­dan­gered natal shyshark is de­rived from just three adult males ob­served in the wild.

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