SOUTHERN SAWTAIL CATSHARK
Beautiful looking catshark endemic to Brazil
The Southern Sawtail catshark (Galeus mincaronei) is a species of catshark belonging to the family Scyliorhinidae, endemic to southern Brazil. It inhabits deep-water reef habitats on the upper continental slope at a depth of around 1,411 feet. They often resemble the Antilles catshark. This catshark has a crest of enlarged dermal denticles on the upper margin of the caudal fin. They are reddish in color with a pattern of dark oval blotches outlined in white.
Family: Scyliorhinidae – Catsharks
Common Name– Ground Sharks
Common Name– Catsharks
Status: IUCN Red List VULNERABLE
Average Size and Length: Each egg case measures 5-6×4 cm. Mature males have been measured at 40 cm/1.3 feet. Mature females have been measured at 39 cm/1.2 feet. The maximum is longer than 1.3 feet.
Current Rare Mythical Sightings: The first known specimens of the Southern Sawtail catshark were caught in a series of experimental fish traps set off Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, in 1988. It was initially identified as Galeus antillensis. It was described in a 2001 issue of the scientific journal Mare Magnum by Jules Soto, who named it after Michael Maia Mincarone for his contributions to the Museu Oceanográfico do Vale do Itajaí. The type specimen is an adult male 40 cm/1.3 feet.
The Southern Sawtail catshark closely resembles G. antillensis, and with it belongs to the G. arae species complex along with G. arae, G. cadenati, and G. springeri. In 2006, Getulio Rincon and Carolus Vooren reported that the range of morphometric variation in this species was greater than previously thought. Further studies were recommended.
Teeth and Jaw: The mouth is large, and forms a short, wide arch, with long, deep furrows around the corners. Inside of the mouth may be black in color. Males have a slightly longer, narrower mouth and larger teeth than females. There are around 57–71 upper tooth rows and 56–63 lower tooth rows. Each tooth has a narrow central cusp flanked by one or two smaller cusplets on either side.
Head: The head is large, but short and flattened with a pointed snout. The eyes are horizontally oval and have nictitating membranes. The eyes are followed by tiny spiracles. The ridge beneath each eye is indistinct. The anterior rims of the nostrils are enlarged into triangular skin flaps.
Denticles: There is a distinct crest of enlarged dermal denticles along the upper margin of the tail. They do not exist on the lower margin. The body is covered by small, overlapping dermal denticles, each has a crown bearing a horizontal ridge and three teeth on the posterior margin.
Tail: The precaudal tail is slightly compressed. The tail itself is elongated. It has a small lower lobe and a ventral notch near the tip of the upper lobe.
Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Southern Sawtail catshark can be found in the western Atlantic Ocean in southern Brazil. They exist in deep reef habitats that have gorgonians, corals, sponges, brittle stars and crinoids on the upper continental slope around 1,411 feet. Newer reports record the Southern Sawtail at depths between 774-1,969 feet, but typically found deeper than 1,312 feet. Its total range is estimated to encompass less than 7,700 square miles of area. They are considered bathydemersal.
Aesthetic Identification: The Southern Sawtail catshark is a slender shark that is reddish-brown dorsally and whitish ventrally. There is a pattern of eleven large oval or circular dark saddles and spots outlines in white on the back and on the precaudal tail. The fins are dark but there are no black tips or white edges. There are five pairs of gill slits, with the fourth and fifth over the pectoral fin bases. The first dorsal fin originates over the rear of the pelvic fins, while the second dorsal fin originates over the rear of the anal fin. Both dorsal fins are small with rounded apexes. The first is slightly smaller than the second. The pectoral fins are fairly large, with rounded corners. The pelvic fins are small and relatively broad. Adult males have rather short, thick claspers that bear hooks on their inner surfaces. The anal fin is somewhat long. It almost reaches past the lower caudal origin. The anal fin base measures between 11 and 14% of the total length, exceeding the distance between the pelvic and anal fins and ranging from longer to shorter than the distance between the dorsal fins.
Biology and Reproduction: They are oviparous. There is a single egg in each oviduct. The eggs are laid in egg cases that are reddish in color with long, coiled tendrils. These egg cases are often found with the egg cases of the Freckled catshark. Males and females reach sexual maturity at 36–38 cm/1.1-1.2 feet and 35–39 cm/1.1-13 feet long.
Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Unknown.
Southern Sawtail Catshark Future and Conservation: They are considered vulnerable. There are large numbers (not quantified) of Southern Sawtail catsharks are caught incidentally on bottom longlines and in bottom trawls and traps, deployed by goosefish and squid fisheries. Given its limited range, the Southern Sawtail catshark is considered vulnerable.
Southern Sawtail Catshark Recorded Attacks on Humans: Not a threat to humans.