A catshark with extremely small eyes and a crest of dermal denticles above the tail

The Smalleye catshark (Apristurus microps) is a shark belonging to the family Scyliorhinidae, found in the south Atlantic and southwest Indian Oceans. They are a deep-water shark. Not much is known about this species. They do have a crest of dermal denticles above the tail.


Family: Scyliorhinidae – Catsharks

Genus: Apristurus 

Species: microps


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles


Common NameGround Sharks

Family– Scyliorhinidae

Common NameCatsharks




Average Size and Length: Immature males measure between 35-50 cm/1.1-1.6 feet. Adolescent males have measured between 47-51 cm/1.5-1.7 feet. Adult males have measured between 47-61 cm/1.5-2 feet. Females have been measured between 49-57 cm/1.6-1.9 feet. The maximum recorded has been 61 cm/2 feet.

Teeth and Jaw: The labial furrows are very long. The uppers reach the upper symphysis and the lowers are the same length.

Head: It has a thick. Long broad snout. The mouth projects forward well in front of the eyes. The eyes are extremely small.

Denticles: There is a crest of dermal denticles above the tail.

Tail: The caudal fin is elongated.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Smalleye catshark can be found in the north Atlantic in Canada, USA and the Irish slope of Europe. In the south Atlantic they can be found in South Africa in the southwest Indian Ocean. They can be found over the continental slopes between 2,297-7,218 feet. They are considered bathydemersal.

Diet: They eat shrimp, small bony fish, squid and other small sharks.

Aesthetic Identification: The Smalleye catshark is a stout shark with a dark brown to grey brown to purplish black body. There are no obvious fin markings. The gill slits are moderately large. They are about the size of the adult eye length. The pectoral fins are very short. The dorsal fins are about equal size. The origin of the first dorsal fin is over the rear of the pelvic fin bases. The interdorsal space is equal to the first dorsal fin base. The anal fin is large, elongated and, rounded and angular anal fin. There is a small notch between the anal fin and the caudal fin.

Biology and Reproduction: Unknown, but possibly oviparous.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Their behavior is unknown, they are possibly nocturnal.

Smalleye Catshark Future and Conservation: They are of least concern and aren’t of much interest to commercial fisheries. They are probably discarded as bycatch by deep water trawls.

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