Smallest shark of its genus, with bristly skin 

The Bristly catshark (Bythaelurus hispidus) is a shark belonging to the family Scyliorhinidae, found from southeastern India and the Andaman Islands, between latitudes 15° N and 5° N in deep water. They are a very small catshark, the smallest within its genus. The Bristly catshark also ranks 10 in the PSD ranked World’s Smallest Sharks, read about it here!


Family: Scyliorhinidae – Catsharks

Genus: Bythaelurus 

Species: hispidus


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles


Common NameGround Sharks

Family– Scyliorhinidae

Common NameCatsharks




Average Size and Length: They measure between 22-24 cm/8.7-9.4 inches. The maximum recorded was 29 cm/11.4 inches.

Current Rare Mythical Sightings: Bristly catsharks were first discovered by Alfred William Alcock in the Indian Ocean in 1891.

Teeth and Jaw: The mouth is long and arched. It has short wrinkle labial furrows. Bristly catsharks have papillae on the tongue.

Head: The snout is short and rounded with a parabolic knoblike tip. The eyes are large and cat-like in appearance.

Denticles: The skin is bristly.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Bristly catshark can be found in the northern Indian Ocean in southeastern India in the Andaman Islands (15° N and 5° N). They can be found on the bottom on the upper continental slopes between 961-2,513 feet. They are considered bathydemersal.

Diet: They eat small fish, crustaceans and squid.

Aesthetic Identification: The Bristly catshark is very small and elongated. They are pale brown or almost whiteish, sometimes with faint grey crossbands, white or dusky spots. There are 2 dorsal fins. The origin of the first dorsal fin is over the rear of the pelvic fin bases. There is an anal fin.

Biology and Reproduction: They are oviparous.  The diameter of the egg cases ranges from 2-4mm in female with functional but immature ovary. They range from 1.5-2.1 cm in females with well-developed ovary.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Unknown.

Bristly Catshark Future and Conservation: There is not enough data to evaluate, but they are quite common in deep water.

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