Rare deep-water catshark with velvety skin
Family: Scyliorhinidae – Catsharks
Common Name– Ground Sharks
Common Name– Catsharks
Status: IUCN Red List DATA DEFICIENT
Average Size and Length: The only known specimen, a juvenile male, measured a total of 36 cm/1.2 feet in length.
Teeth and Jaw: The mouth is relatively long; its length is 5.0% of the total length. The labial furrows are rudimentary. The teeth are mainly quadricuspidate, about 90 rows in both jaws.
Head: The head is longer than the abdomen, with a length 21.4% of the total length. It has a relatively short snout, with a prenarial length 4.7% of the total length.
Denticles: It has velvety skin, with long-cusped, tricuspidate denticles. There are crests of small denticles (not enlarged) on the upper and lower caudal fin and peduncle margins.
Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Velvet catshark is known only from a single specimen collected in the western Pacific Ocean, off the Tanimbar Islands in the Arafura Sea, Indonesia, at a depth of 2,756-2,805 feet. It is bathydemersal.
Aesthetic Identification: The Velvet catshark has a soft body, and has plain brownish coloration. The first dorsal fin is forward of the mid-length, the pre-first dorsal length is 44.4% of the total length. The pelvic fins and vent are well in front of the mid-length, the pre-pelvic length is 40.0% of the total length and the pre-vent length is 44.2% of the total length. The pectoral-pelvic length is 16.9% of the total length. The dorsal fins are elevated, with anterior margins of first 9.2% and the second 10.3% of the total length. The subterminal caudal lobe is developed, with a subterminal margin length of 4.7% of the total length. The terminal margin length 5.3% of the total length.
Biology and Reproduction: There are 46 monospondylous centra. 85 precaudal centra, and 134 total centra. Its reproduction is unknown given the only known specimen is a juvenile male.
Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Unknown.
Velvet Catshark Recorded Attacks on Humans: Not a threat to humans.