A catshark found in South Africa

The Saldanha catshark (Apristurus saldanha) is a species of shark, belonging to the family Scyliorhinidae. It is found in Namibia and South Africa between 31 and 40°S. They have large eyes, and very large pectoral fins. The Saldanha catshark is oviparous.


Family: Scyliorhinidae – Catsharks

Genus: Apristurus 

Species: saldanha


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles


Common NameGround Sharks

Family– Scyliorhinidae

Common NameCatsharks




Average Size and Length: Adolescent males have been measured at 68 cm/2.2 feet. Adult males have been measured between 74-88 cm/2.4-2.9 feet. Adult females have been measured between 72-77 cm/2.4-2.5 feet. The maximum reported was 88 cm/2.9 feet.

Teeth and Jaw: The labial furrows are long. The uppers reach the upper symphysis and the lowers are shorter. The teeth are conical, straight and sharp to a point with 3 cusps.

Head: The snout is long, thick and broad. The nostrils are broad. The eyes are fairly large and cat-like in appearance. The mouth does not project in front of the eyes.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Saldanha catshark can be found in Namibia and South Africa (in eastern, western and the northern Cape coasts). They can be found over the continental slope between 1,129-3,310 feet. They are considered bathydemersal.

Diet: They eat cephalopods and small bony fish.

Aesthetic Identification: The Saldanha catshark is stout in shape and is plain dark or slate grey or grey-brown in color. The gill slits are smaller than the adult eye length. The pectoral fins are large. The first dorsal fin is slightly smaller or about equal to the second dorsal fin. The first dorsal fin is widely from the second dorsal fin and originates over the pelvic fin midbases or slightly behind them. The anal fin is angular and elongated and separated from the tail by a small notch.

Biology and Reproduction: They are oviparous.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Their behavior is not known.

Saldanha Catshark Future and Conservation: They are of least concern.

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