Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Notice: The Zoo Will Close at 1 p.m. on Friday, August 2 to Prepare for Brew at the Zoo. Admission will end at noon.

White-spotted Bamboo Shark

Chiloscyllium plagiosum

The White-Spotted Bamboo shark is slender and has an elongated body with a color pattern of numerous white or bluish spots, dark bands and saddles on a light background. Males grow to roughly 1.5 to 2.5 feet and females grow to 3 to 3.5 feet.

Range & Habitat

The white-spotted bamboo shark is found in the Indo-West Pacific near Madagascar, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, China, Japan and the Philippines.

Conservation Status: Common, Not Endangered

Common, not endangered - Although they are not heavily preyed upon, their survival may be in jeopardy due to global warming. As reef animals, the dynamics of the food chain on the coral reefs determines their future. As coral reefs are affected by climate


In the Wild -- invertebrates, crustaceans, small fish.

At the Zoo: Smelt, squid, shrimp and fish gel.

Life Span

In the Wild – 25 years; In Human Care – Unknown.

Fun Facts about the White-spotted Bamboo Shark

  • A female white-spotted bamboo shark that had not had contact with a male for at least 6 years gave birth to 3 babies. There are some theories about this occurrence. The mother may have both male and female reproductive organs and be able to fertilize her own eggs OR were the product of stored sperm (delayed implantation), OR she somehow stimulated the eggs without sperm. This complex process, known as parthenogenesis, is the ability of unfertilized eggs to develop into embryos without sperm.


Aquarium of the Pacific, (n.d.). Weird wild & wonderful. Retrieved Dec. 28, 2005, from Whitespotted Bamboo Shark Web site: T ABASE/ADBindex.asp?id=44&cat=hb.

Food and Agricultural Organization of United States, (2001). FIGIS- fisheries global info system. Retrieved Dec. 28, 2005, from Species Fact Sheet Web site:

National Geographic, (2002). Shark gives virgin birth in Detroit. Retrieved Jan. 01, 2006, from Web site:

RIVERBANKS ZOO AND GARDEN, (n.d.). White-spotted bamboo shark. Retrieved Feb. 18, 2006, from RIVERBANKS ZOO AND GARDEN Web site:

Updated June 13, 2023
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