DARK FRECKLED CATSHARK
A newly discovered catshark in Brazil
Family: Scyliorhinidae – Catsharks
Common Name– Ground Sharks
Common Name– Catsharks
Status: IUCN Red List NOT EVALUATED
Average Size and Length: Adult males have been recorded at 53.4 cm/1.8 feet and adult females at 63 cm/2 feet.
Current Rare Mythical Sightings: (Soares, Gadig & Gomes, 2015)
Head: The cranium has a flat basal plate, without keels. The cranial width is larger in females, being 42.7% of the NL (vs. 37.4% of the NL in the Freckled catshark and the Polkadot catshark). The head is considerably broad (vs. slender in the Polkadot catshark, Freckled catshark, and Whitesaddled catshark). The snout is rounded and moderately short, with a preoral length of 5% of the total length (vs. 4.5% of the total length in the Freckled catshark and Polkadot catshark). It has a preorbital length of 6.4% of the total length, and a head length of 20% of the total length (vs. 5% of the total length and 18% of the total length in the Whitesaddled catshark).
Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Dark Freckled catshark is found in the southwest Atlantic in Northeastern and Southeastern Brazil (5°S – 17°S, 37°W – 39°W). They are marine tropical demersal, found at a depth range of between 1,312-1,640 feet. They have been associated with coral formations, where it possibly lays its egg cases.
Diet: Stomach contents consist of small invertebrates like cephalopods, small bony fishes, and one hagfish egg case, which was found in the stomach of an adult specimen.
Aesthetic Identification: The Dark Freckled catshark. differs from the Polkadot catshark, Freckled catshark, and Whitesaddled catshark in background coloration, head width, sexual maturity, and in cranial and body proportions. It has brown saddles on a light brown background, the predorsal saddles have anterior and posterior sharp median projections (vs. no projections in the Polkadot catshark, Freckled catshark, and Whitesaddled catshark), and light and dark, spiracle-sized or slightly smaller spots, with no large white spots (vs. large white spots in the Whitesaddled catshark). The pectoral-pelvic space is 1.5 times the pelvic-anal space (vs. equal in the Freckled catshark and Polkadot catshark), and the interdorsal space is 2.3 times the dorsal-caudal space (vs. 1.6 times in the Freckled catshark and Polkadot catshark). The anal-fin base is 8% of the total length (vs. 6.7% of the total length in the Whitesaddled catshark, and 8.3% of the total length in the Freckled catshark and the Polkadot catshark). There is a terminal dermal cover in the hindmost portion of the claspers, covering terminal cartilages (in which there are none in the Whitesaddled catshark).
Biology and Reproduction: The size of the Dark Freckled catshark at first maturity is not well defined, but males at 45 cm/1.4 feet total length and females at 47 cm/1.5 feet total length have been recorded as adults. They are oviparous, with at least two amber colored egg cases, one per uterus. Each egg case is smooth, lacking longitudinal grooves and measuring about 15.2 cm/6 inches long and 5.8 cm/2.3 feet wide.
Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Unknown.
Dark Freckled Catshark Recorded Attacks on Humans: Not a threat to humans.