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Pyjama sharks join penguin exhibit

August 7, 2012

Pyjama shark

Six beautifully striped pyjama sharks joined the Academy’s popular African Penguin exhibit this week. These seemingly unlikely “roommates” both live along the South African coast in the wild, in habitats that are increasingly impacted by human activities and climate change.

Born at an aquarium in Lisbon, Portugal, the sharks were acquired by Steinhart Aquarium several months ago in an effort to enhance the exhibit at the end of African Hall, showcasing these natural neighbors together as few aquariums have done before.  Since their arrival, Academy biologists have implemented a formal training plan to regulate their feeding habits. The goal of this plan is to attract the sharks, typically nocturnal bottom feeders, closer to the surface for feeding and monitoring, allowing biologists to keep a watchful eye on their progress.

Pyjama sharks are shy by nature, so they are expected to spend a lot of time in the exhibit’s crevices and caves built especially for them by Academy staff. But visitors who happen to catch a feeding will be in for a treat. Biologists plan to establish that schedule in the weeks to come, as the sharks settle into their new home and the penguins become accustomed to their new roommates.

Named for its appearance, the pyjama shark is typically identified by its body pattern of long, dark stripes, and prominent but short nasal barbells. Upon hatching, pyjama sharks generally measure between 14-15 centimeters and can grow up to 100 centimeters as adults. The Academy’s pyjama sharks, four female and two male, arrived at a length of 40 centimeters and continue to grow.

On September 21, guests at the second annual Penguins + Pajamas Sleepover for Grownups can pay a housewarming visit to the animals in their own pajamas. Additional Penguins + Pajamas sleepover dates open to kids ages 5+ and their chaperones include October 12, November 10, and December 30, 2012.  Tickets>>


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