Deep water Brazilian catshark with beautiful markings

The Lizard catshark (Schroederichthys saurisqualus) is a species of catshark, belonging to the family, Scyliorhinidae, found off the coast of southern Brazil on the upper continental shelf at depths of between 400-1,427 feet. It is similar in appearance to the Slender catshark, but there are noticeable differences.


Family: Scyliorhinidae – Catsharks

Genus: Schroederichthys 

Species: saurisqualus


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles


Common NameGround Sharks

Family– Scyliorhinidae

Common NameCatsharks




Average Size and Length: Hatchlings are at least 9 cm/3.5 inches. Mature sharks are greater than 40 cm/1.3 feet. Adult males measure between 58-59 cm/1.9 feet, and mature females around 69 cm/2.2 feet. The maximum recorded is greater than 69 cm/2.3 feet.  They are slightly longer than the Slender catshark.

Teeth and Jaw: The mouth is moderately wide. The teeth have on long, somewhat wide, straight and pointed cusp.

Head: The snout is rounded. There are elongated narrow lobate anterior nasal flaps.

Denticles: The dermal denticles on its skin are rounded rather than pointed, like the Slender catshark.

Tail: The tail of adults and subadults is slender and elongated.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Lizard catshark can be found in the southwest Atlantic in South America off of Brazil. They can be found on the outer shelf and upper slope between 400-1,427 feet. They mostly stay below 820 feet on deep reef habitats. They occur with deep water gorgonians, hard corals, crinoids, tube sponges, and brittle stars. They are also found with the Freckled catshark (Scyliorhinus haeckelii). They are considered bathydemersal. The water temperature is low (41 to 46 °F) in these parts and the coral is slow to regrow.

Aesthetic Identification: The Lizard catshark has ten conspicuous dusky saddles on a lighter brown or grey background in adults and subadults. There are four between the dorsal fins, and numerous white spots interspersed with dark. The trunk of adults and subadults is slender and elongated. The first dorsal fin origin is slightly behind the pelvic fin insertions. It is similar in appearance to the Slender catshark (Schroederichthys tenuis) but can be distinguished from it because it has white spotting, a longer distance between the two dorsal fins and a longer distance between the pelvic and anal fins (longer interdorsal space, 20.7-22.3% (vs. 17.2-20.6%); longer pelvic-anal space 19.2-20.8% (vs. 14.7-19.4%).

Biology and Reproduction: They are oviparous. They probably lay pairs of egg cases with tendrils on each egg case used by the female to secure the egg case to the sea bed or rock and coral. Each egg case is greyish-green in color. The developing embryos feed on the egg yolks and hatch as miniature fish.

It has about 120-123 vertebrae while the Slender catshark has only about 108-113.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Unknown.

Speed: More than likely slow.

Lizard Catshark Future and Conservation: They are considered vulnerable. It has a small total population and a limited range of only 370 miles of coastline, and lays its eggs in patches of coral which are susceptible to damage through trawling. The water temperature is low (41 to 46 °F) in these parts and the coral is slow to regrow. The IUCN advocates the cessation of trawling on the lower continental shelf and upper slope of the reefs to prevent further decline in this species.

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