A plain shark with black colored gills

The Blackgill catshark (Parmaturus melanobranchus) is a catshark belonging to the family Scyliorhinidae. They have been found off the coasts of China and Japan. This shark is a potential bycatch of deep-water bottom-trawl fisheries operating within its range, but no specific information is available. It gets its name from its black colored gills.


Family: Scyliorhinidae – Catsharks

Genus: Parmaturus 

Species: melanobranchus


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles


Common NameGround Sharks

Family– Scyliorhinidae

Common NameCatsharks




Average Size and Length: The maximum reported length was of a female, at 85 cm/2.8 feet long. This could possibly have been an adult specimen.

Teeth and Jaw: The upper and lower teeth differ. In the upper jaw, there are rods of more blunt and broad flattened teeth with 3 cusps, more less used for crushing, as well as row of sharper teeth with the mid, central cusp longer and to a point. The bottom teeth are sharp, pointed, jagged and have three cusps, with the middle cusp slightly longer than the surrounding two.

Head: The snout is moderately long and blunt. The anterior nasal flaps are elongated and pointed. There are ridges under the eyes.

Denticles: There are crests of saw-like dermal denticles along the top of the caudal fin and on the preventral caudal margin below.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Blackgill catshark can be found in the northwest Pacific in China, in the South China Sea off Hong Kong near Taiwan, and Japan in the Ryu-Kyu Islands (21°N – 18°N). They can be found on the upper continental shelf and insular slopes on the bottom on mud between 1,772-2,740 feet. They are considered bathydemersal.

Aesthetic Identification: The Blackgill catshark has a plain, soft, flabby body that is grey to dark brown dorsally and lighter in color ventrally. The gill septa are blackish in color, and the gills are not greatly enlarged. The first dorsal fin is noticeably smaller than the second dorsal fin, with its origin well behind the pelvic fin origins and opposite their midbases or insertions. The second dorsal fin is about as large as the anal fin, and its insertion is well behind the insertion of the anal fin.

Biology and Reproduction: Unknown, but could be oviparous.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Unknown.

Blackgill Catshark Future and Conservation: There is not enough data to evaluate. They are only known from a few specimens.

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