Latin name

Orectolobus japonicus

Other names

Japanese carpet shark, fringed shark.


They have a flattened and broad head and body. There is a leathery fringe of five lobes under the eyes on each side. The fringe behind the spatula is broad and branched. Dermal tubercles and protuberances on the back are absent. The mouth is located in front of the eyes. The nostrils are located near the tip of the snout and communicate with the mouth through a groove. The anterior nasal valves reach the teeth. The fleshy antennae of the nostrils are high and twice as long as the eye. On the sides of the mouth are 4-5 skin growths. On the sides of the head there are two more two to three lobed projections. 


The teeth on the lower jaw have 8 rows on each side and the teeth on the upper jaw have 9 rows. 

Features of fish fins

The base of the first dorsal fin begins at the midpoint of the bases of the pelvic fins. Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 0; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 0. Caudal fin with upper lobe barely elevated above body axis, with strong terminal lobe and subterminal notch, but no ventral lobe. 

Fish colouring

The colouring is very variegated, the light brown body is covered with dark saddle-shaped markings with irregular edges, flecked with white dots. 


They live in the western Pacific Ocean off the coasts of Japan, Korea, China and Vietnam. 


Marine, demersal species. Occurs in temperate and tropical waters on rocky and coral reefs, up to 200m deep. Prefers sandy or sandy-silt bottoms.


The maximum recorded length is 107 cm. 


They're nocturnal. 

Food and feeding habits

The diet consists of benthic bony fish such as lizardfish, cutlass, Atlantic horse mackerel, mullus, epinephelus, tilefish, gurnard, merluccius, parrotfish, sparidae, sciaenidae, rays, shark eggs, cephalopods and shrimp. 


They reproduce by laying eggs, with 20-23 newborns in a litter. They are capable of breeding in captivity. These sharks have been observed mating in an aquarium in Okinawa, Japan. Births followed from March to May. During the mating process, the male would grab the female in the gill area and then mate with her. Pregnancy lasts about a year. Males and females reach sexual maturity at 103 cm and 101-107 cm respectively.


The species is of little commercial interest. 

Relationship with a person

Potentially dangerous due to their impressive size. The flesh is used for food. They are kept in aquariums in Japan and the USA. 

Phylum Chordata
Class Chondrichthyes
Squad Orectolobiformes
Family Orectolobidae
Genus Orectolobus
Species O. japonicus
Conservation status Least Concern
Habitat Bottom
Life span, years No information
Maximum body weight, kg No information
Maximum length, cm 107
Sailing speed, m/s No information
Threat to people Edible
Way of eating Predator

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