Like its name, this beautiful catshark has a narrow body and tail
The Narrowtail catshark (Schroederichthys maculatus) is a species of catshark belonging to the family Scyliorhinidae, found off the coasts of Honduras and Nicaragua. They are found in the tropical deep water between 623-1,345 feet on sandy or shelly bottoms of the outer shelf and upper slope. This shark has a beautifully colored pattern, more so in the juvenile sharks. Juveniles have six to nine light brown saddle-shaped markings dorsally, but these fade in adulthood.
Family: Scyliorhinidae – Catsharks
Common Name– Ground Sharks
Common Name– Catsharks
Average Size and Length: The length of hatchlings is unknown. Mature males have been measured at less than 28 cm/11 inches. The maximum recorded has been 35 cm/1.1 foot.
Teeth and Jaw: The mouth is broad and wide. The teeth are broad and wide with a thick, straightly pointed central cusp. The surrounding tiny cusplets number in 3-5.
Head: The snout is rounded. There are broad, triangular, elongated anterior nasal flaps.
Tail: The tail is slender and elongated.
Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Narrowtail catshark can be found in the west Atlantic in Central and South America off Honduras, Nicaragua and Colombia between the Honduras Bank and Jamaica (18° N and 10° N). This is almost to the Caribbean. They prefer shelly or sandy bottoms in deep water between 623-1,345 feet on the tropical outer shelf and upper slope. It is considered bathydemersal.
Diet: They feed on small bony fish, squid, and other cephalopods. One may have contained algae in its stomach, perhaps from grazing the shelly bottom.
Aesthetic Identification: The Narrowtail catshark has an extremely slender and elongated trunk and tail in juvenile sharks and in adult sharks. Juvenile sharks have a pattern of six to nine light inconspicuous brown saddles on a darker grey to tan background, which disappears in adults. There are three saddles in the interdorsal space, and numerous scattered white spots but no dark spots. The ventral side of the shark is pale. The first dorsal fin origin is slightly behind the pelvic fin insertions.
There is a theory; because the Narrowtail catshark retains the same body proportions at all ages while other members of the genus do not, it has been suggested that it is a pedomorphic dwarf, retaining its juvenile form and maturing at a much smaller size than other members of the genus. This is just speculation at this point though.
Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Unknown.
Speed: More than likely slow-moving.
Narrowtail Catshark Future and Conservation: They are of least concern. In the absence of known threats, the population is presumed to be stable, but its range is limited, but deeper than most commercial trawlers operate in this area.
Narrowtail Catshark Recorded Attacks on Humans: Not a threat to humans.