The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Chiloscyllium punctatum
Chiloscyllium punctatum
(brownbanded bambooshark)
Marine Fishes

Copyright Info
Chiloscyllium punctatum Müller and Henle, 1838

Common name: brownbanded bambooshark

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Juveniles exhibit alternating brown/white or black/white banding.  White bands become brown with maturity.  Body shape is long and slender.  Adults are light brown to greyish brown with no prominent color patterns.  Dorsal fins larger than pelvic fins.   Pectoral and pelvic fins forward of dorsal fin.  From Compagno and Niem (1998) and Allen et al. (2003).

Similar species: Nurse shark (Ginglymostoma cirratum) has a wider head, heavier body, and uniform grey to brown coloration.  Juvenile nurse sharks do not have color banding on the body.

Native Range: Brownbanded bamboosharks are distributed in the Indo-Asian Pacific from Madagascar and India to Indonesia and Philippines, north to southern Japan.  From Allen et al. (2003).

Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences: In Florida, one individual was observed and photographed near Riviera Beach in 2007 (REEF 2008).

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Chiloscyllium punctatum are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
FL200720071Florida Southeast Coast

Table last updated 7/20/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

Ecology: The brownbanded bambooshark inhabits near-shore corals reefs and tide pools.  In Australia, the species prefers seagrass habitat, which could be a function of habitat partitioning with other near-shore sharks (White and Potter 2004).  The diet likely consists of invertebrates and small fish (Last and Stevens 1994).  The species is small and adapts well to captivity.  It can also withstand a wide range of environmental conditions, and breeding programs in Australia and Germany have been successful (Harahush et al. 2007).  Bamboosharks are on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and are classified as ‘Near Threatened’ globally.  In Australia, the bambooshark is classified as ‘Least Concern’ (Cavanagh et al. 2003).  The bambooshark is an oviparous species that lays brown rectangular egg cases attached to coral and rocky substrates by small and delicate tendrils (Harahush et al. 2007).

Means of Introduction: Probable aquarium release.

Status: Reported from Florida.

Impact of Introduction: The impacts of this species are currently unknown, as no studies have been done to determine how it has affected ecosystems in the invaded range. The absence of data does not equate to lack of effects. It does, however, mean that research is required to evaluate effects before conclusions can be made.

References: (click for full references)

Allen, G., R. Steene, P. Humann and N. Deloach.  2003.  Reef Fish Identification.  Tropical Pacific.  New World Publications, Inc., Jacksonville, Florida and Odyssey Publications, El Cajon, California.

Cavanagh, R. D., P.K. Kyne, S.L. Fowler, J.A. Musick, and M.B. Bennett.  2003.  Report of the IUCN Shark Specialist Group Australia and Oceania Regional Red List Workshop.  Brisbane: The University of Queensland, School of Biomedical Sciences.

Compagno, L. J. V. and V. H. Niem.  1998.  Hemiscylliidae. Longtail carpetsharks. Pp 1249-1259 in:  Carpenter, K. E. and V. H. Niem (eds.) FAO identification guide for fishery purposes.  The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific.  FAO, Rome.

Harahush, B. K., A. B. P. Fischer and S. P. Collin.  2007.  Captive breeding and embryonic development of Chiloscyllium punctatum Muller & Henle, 1838 (Elasmobranchii: Hemiscyllidae).  Journal of Fish Biology 71: 1007-1022.

Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF).  2008.  Exotic species sighting program and volunteer database. World wide web electronic publication. www.reef.org, date of download March 10, 2008.

White, W. T. and I. C. Potter.  2004.  Habitat partitioning among four elasmobranch species in nearshore, shallow waters of a subtropical embayment in Western Australia.  Marine Biology 145: 1023-1032.

Other Resources:
FishBase Summary

Author: Schofield, Pamela J., and James A. Morris, Jr.

Revision Date: 8/26/2020

Peer Review Date: 4/23/2009

Citation Information:
Schofield, Pamela J., and James A. Morris, Jr., 2024, Chiloscyllium punctatum Müller and Henle, 1838: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=2762, Revision Date: 8/26/2020, Peer Review Date: 4/23/2009, Access Date: 7/20/2024

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.


The data represented on this site vary in accuracy, scale, completeness, extent of coverage and origin. It is the user's responsibility to use these data consistent with their intended purpose and within stated limitations. We highly recommend reviewing metadata files prior to interpreting these data.

Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [7/20/2024].

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