The California Horn shark (Heterodontus francisci) is no exception to this rule.
The funny thing about sharks is that they come in an array of shapes and sizes. H. francisci does not have the shape of something that usually strikes a note of fear in the hearts of many. Instead, it’s kind of… okay, REALLY cute.
They tend to usually be loners and during the day their coloration acts like camouflage, hiding the sharks among the rocks, kelp or caves. The California horn shark mates in December/January (so, NOW—woo hoo!) and then the females lay eggs in a few weeks. After they hatch, the pups stay in shallow area until they reach a length of 0.35-0.49 m (1.14-1.6 ft), which is when they move to deeper water. When they grow a little more (0.49-1.5 m; 1.6-4.9 ft), they migrate back to shallower waters for most of their (average) 25 years.
They have no commercial value, but tend to be taken as bycatch by some fisheries (e.g. in bottom trawls). It’s unclear the effect this has on the population, and so they are classified as Data Deficient (DD) by the IUCN.
- Pup: Give birth to baby sharks (pups).
- IUCN: International Union for Conservation of Nature.
- Commercial fishery: The activity of catching fish and other seafood for profit.
- Bycatch: The part of a fishery’s catch that is made up of non-target species.
- Invertebrates: Animals with no backbone (i.e. crustaceans, jellyfish, corals, sea anemones).
- Nocturnal: Active at night.
Ever seen one of these cuties?