Little known shark in the western Indian ocean

The Smallbelly catshark (Apristurus indicus) is a shark belonging to the family Scyliorhinidae found in the western Indian Ocean near Somalia, the Gulf of Aden, and Oman, at depths between 4,229-6,037 feet. Only immature specimens have been measured. Not much is known about this shark.


Family: Scyliorhinidae – Catsharks

Genus: Apristurus 

Species: indicus


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles


Common NameGround Sharks

Family– Scyliorhinidae

Common NameCatsharks




Average Size and Length: Their length is mostly unknown. Immature sharks have been measured up to 34 cm/1.1 feet.

Teeth and Jaw: The mouth is very short. The labial furrows are very long. The uppers reach the upper symphysis and the lowers are shorter than the uppers.

Head: The head is broad and flattened with an elongated snout. There are large nostrils. The mouth reaches in front of the eyes.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Smallbelly catshark can be found in the west Indian Ocean from Somalia, the Gulf of Aden and Oman. Other records from other locations are more than likely false. They can be found on the continental slopes in deep water from 4,229-6,037 feet on the bottom.

Aesthetic Identification: Smallbelly catsharks have a brownish or blackish body. They have paired fins an anal fin and a caudal fin very close together. The gill slits are less than the adult eye length. There are two small spineless dorsal fins. The first dorsal fin is lower than the second dorsal fin and extends forward as a long, low ridge on the back.

Biology and Reproduction: Unknown, but through to be oviparous. They may lay paired eggs.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Unknown.

Smallbelly Catshark Future and Conservation: They are of least concern and more than likely caught by bottom trawlers.

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