Single catshark found with an extremely tiny and sharp first dorsal fin

The Smalldorsal catshark (Apristurus micropterygeus) is a shark belonging to the family Scyliorhinidae found in the South China Sea, at a depth of 2,995 feet. It is known only from one adolescent male specimen of 37 cm/1.2 feet. The Smalldorsal catshark has a tiny, narrow, sharply pointed first dorsal fin. Because little is known about this shark, more data on more specimens need to be gathered and reviewed about this shark. It is possible that years from now with additional data it could be reclassified.


Family: Scyliorhinidae – Catsharks

Genus: Apristurus 

Species: micropterygeus


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles


Common NameGround Sharks

Family– Scyliorhinidae

Common NameCatsharks




Average Size and Length: Known from an adolescent male of 37 cm/1.2 feet.

Teeth and Jaw: The mouth is short and arched. The labial furrows are very long. The uppers reach the upper symphysis. The lowers are shorter. The teeth are small, sharply pointed with 5 cusps.

Head: The head is broad and flattened. The snout is rounded and elongated. The nostrils are large. The mouth extends to the anterior ends of the eyes. The eyes are cat-like in appearance.

Tail: The caudal fin is elongated.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Smalldorsal catshark can be found in the south China Sea off of China. The specimen was taken from 2,995 feet. They would be considered bathydemersal.

Aesthetic Identification: The Smalldorsal catshark is grey-brown in color. The fins are not conspicuously marked. The gill slits are fairly small. They are slightly less than the eye length. Its body appears long and slender. Like its name, the first dorsal fin is tiny, thin and pointed. It is one-ninth the size of the second dorsal fin. The first dorsal fin originates just behind the long pelvic fin bases. The interdorsal space is much greater than the first dorsal base. The anal fin is very large and elongated. It is separated from the tail fin by a small notch.

Biology and Reproduction: Unknown, but possibly oviparous.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Unknown. Possibly nocturnal.

Smalldorsal Catshark Future and Conservation: There is not enough data to evaluate this shark.

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