This shark has large dermal denticles giving it a rough texture to the touch

The Black Roughscale catshark (Apristurus melanoasper) is a shark belonging to the family Scyliorhinidae. It has been recorded off the north Atlantic off northern U.S., off France, Ireland and British Isles, over the slope. This species has been confused with a species found in Australia and New Zealand. It is a completely different species.


Family: Scyliorhinidae – Catsharks

Genus: Apristurus 

Species: melanoasper


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles


Common NameGround Sharks

Family– Scyliorhinidae

Common NameCatsharks




Average Size and Length: Males have been recorded at 71 cm/2.3 feet and females at 73 cm/2.4 feet.

Average Weight: Their maximum published weight is 1.3 kg/2.9 pounds.

Teeth and Jaw: Upper labial furrows longer than the lower ones.

Head: The snout is stout, short and pointed. The interorbital space is between 1.9-3.5 times eye horizontal diameter.

Denticles: The dermal denticles are large which gives its skin a rough texture. The dermal denticles on the tongue and palate are absent.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Black Roughscale Catshark has been recorded off the north Atlantic off northern U.S., off France, Ireland and British Isles over the slope. They are considered deep-water bathypelagic at a depth range of between 1,680-4,987 feet.

Aesthetic Identification: The Black Roughscale catshark has a uniformly black body and sometimes can be slightly brownish in larger specimens. The first dorsal fin is only slightly smaller than the second dorsal fin. The first dorsal fin originates from above the anterior third to middle of the pelvic fin base. The second dorsal fin insertion is just before the level of the anal fin insertion. The abdomen between the pectoral fin tip and the pelvic fin origin is between 1.3-2.5 times the pectoral fin width.

Biology and Reproduction: The spiral valves of the intestine are between 19-23 (but mostly 21-22). The monospondylous + precaudal diplospondylous vertebrae are 36-43 + 26-32 (often 38-40 + 28-30). More than likely they are oviparous.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Unknown.

Black Roughscale Catshark Future and Conservation: They are currently of least concern.

Black Roughscale Catshark Recorded Attacks on Humans: Not a threat to humans.