Rare catshark in the South China Sea

The South China catshark (Apristurus sinensis) is a shark belonging to the family Scyliorhinidae, known only from the holotype, which was taken from the South China Sea, and 2 other specimens. Its length is around 1.4 feet, but this measurement was taken from an immature specimen.


Family: Scyliorhinidae – Catsharks

Genus: Apristurus 

Species: sinensis


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles


Common NameGround Sharks

Family– Scyliorhinidae

Common NameCatsharks




Average Size and Length: An immature male was measured between 42-45 cm/1.4-1.5 feet. The maximum is presumably at least 50 cm/1.6 feet.

Teeth and Jaw: The mouth is short and has very long labial furrow. The uppers reach the upper symphysis and the lowers are shorter. The teeth are pointed and sharp between 3 and 5 cusps.

Head: The head is broad and flattened. The snout is pointed and angular. The mouth does not expand in front of the eyes. The eyes are cat-like in appearance.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The South China catshark can be found in the South China Sea off of China. It was taken from the continental slope between 1,762-3,281 feet. They are considered bathydemersal.

Aesthetic Identification: The South China catshark is dark in color with no obvious markings. The gill slits are short. The widest is much less than the eye length. There are short medial projections on the gill septa. The first dorsal fin is about half the size of the second. The first dorsal fin originates over the last quarter of the pelvic fin bases. The pectoral and pelvic fins are well separated. The anal fin is large and angular. It is separated from the tail by a small notch.

Biology and Reproduction: Unknown but possibly oviparous.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Unknown. They could possibly be nocturnal.

South China Catshark Future and Conservation: They are not evaluated. They are only known from 3 specimens.

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