A shark with a snout the shape of a spatula

The Spatulasnout catshark (Apristurus platyrhynchus), is a shark belonging to the family Scyliorhinidae, found in the western Pacific between 35°N and 1° N. Its length is up to 2.6 feet. Not much is known about this shark, but it is oviparous. There may be some junior synonyms. It may also be referred to as the Borneo catshark


Family: Scyliorhinidae – Catsharks

Genus: Apristurus 

Species: platyrhynchus


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles


Common NameGround Sharks

Family– Scyliorhinidae

Common NameCatsharks




Average Size and Length: Mature males and females have been measured at 60 cm/2 feet. The longest recorded has been 80 cm/2.6 feet.

Teeth and Jaw: The mouth is short, moderate-sized, and broadly arched. The labial furrows are long. The uppers reach the upper symphysis and the lowers are slightly shorter. The teeth are sharp and slightly curved, but to a point and have between 3-5 cusps. They are burr-like.

Head: The snout is very broad, flat and rounded, almost bell-shaped. The preoral snout is about 8% of total length. The mouth is positioned mostly under the eyes. The eyes are very large. They are much longer than the widest gill slit. The nostrils are broad, their width about 1.2 times internarial space. The incurrent and excurrent apertures are narrowly oval, the anterior nasal flaps are low and angular.

Denticles: The lateral trunk dermal denticles on the body have crowns that are flat and closely imbricating. The surface is smooth and without a feltlike or fuzzy texture.

Tail: The caudal fin is elongated. It is fairly broad, without a dorsal crest of enlarged denticles.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Spatulasnout catshark can be found in the west Pacific in southern Japan, in China near Taiwan, the Philippines, North Borneo, the east and south China Seas and the Sulu Sea. They can be found on the continental and insular slopes in deep water between 1,949-3,232 feet.

Aesthetic Identification: The Spatulasnout catshark is light brown or grey to dark brown with blackish fin margins. The body is relatively slender, the trunk is slightly tapering toward head. The gill slits are small, less than eye length. The gill septa are without projecting medial lobes or pleats, not strongly incised. The first dorsal fin is much smaller than the second dorsal fin. The first dorsal fin is about half as large as the second, the base of first about two-thirds length of second. The first dorsal fin originates behind the pelvic insertions. The second dorsal fin insertion is well in front of anal insertion. The pectoral fins are large. The anterior margins are about 14% of the total length. The inner margins are long, nearly length of pectoral bases. The interspace between the pectoral and pelvic bases is short, slightly less than the prespiracular length and about 10% of the total length in adults. The pelvic fins are high and rounded. There is a large, subangular, low and elongated anal fin, it is separated by the tail fin by a small notch. It is about five times as long as high; the base is slightly greater than prebranchial space and 19% of total length in adults.

Biology and Reproduction: Not much is known, but they are oviparous.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Unknown.

Spatulasnout Catshark Future and Conservation: They are of least concern. Apparently, they are not taken by fisheries.

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