The Genus Haploblepharus includes four species of Scyliorhinidae (catsharks) endemic to the Southeast Atlantic and Indian Oceans off the coast of southern Africa. These small, broad-snouted sharks have been observed curling their caudal fins over their heads as a form of defense, earning them the common name “Shyshark.” They also have local nicknames based on their scientific names: Happy Eddie, Plain Happy, Happy Chappie and Pretty Happy.
Haploblepharus pictus is endemic to Namibia and South Africa. An abundant inshore catshark, it is commonly caught by rock and surf anglers, and regularly seen by scuba divers and snorkellers. Its habitat preference appears to be kelp forests and rocky inshore reefs.
Previously considered a “Natal” form of Haploblepharus edwardsii (Schinz, 1822) by Basset al. (1975) and subsequent authors, H. kistnasamyi has a colour pattern that superficially resembles, although is distinct from, that of H. edwardsii. In addition, H. kistnasamyi is distinct in having a noticeably less depressed body, which is stockier than that of H. edwardsii. This species has only been described recently (Compagno and Human 2006, Human 2006 in press).
Haploblepharus fuscus prefers inshore rocky reef habitats. All specimens examined by Human (2003, 2007) were collected very close to shore (rock and surf angling), with no records of specimens being caught by offshore fishing activitie
Haploblepharus edwardsii is endemic to South Africa, and a recent taxonomic revision has shown that this species occurs from Langebaan Lagoon, Western Cape, to Algoa Bay, Eastern Cape. In the west of its range it prefers shallow rocky reef and kelp forest, however, in the east of its range it prefers deeper water on sandy bottom.