The catshark earned its own name

The West African catshark (Scyliorhinus cervigoni) is a catshark belonging to the family Scyliorhinidae. It is found in West Africa from Mauritania to Angola between 148-1,640 feet. At one time, the West African catshark was considered to be a subspecies of the Nursehound, Scyliorhinus stellaris, but is now considered to be a separate species.

Family: Scyliorhinidae – Catsharks

Genus: Scyliorhinus 

Species: cervigoni


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles


Common NameGround Sharks

Family– Scyliorhinidae

Common NameCatsharks




Average Size and Length: Each egg case measures 7-8 x 3 cm. Mature males have measured at 65 cm/2.1 feet. The maximum recorded was a female, at 76 cm/2.5 feet.

Teeth and Jaw: The labial furrows are on the lower jaw only.

Head: The head is somewhat flattened; the greatest width is at least two thirds of its length. The small anterior nasal flaps barely reach the mouth. There are no nasoral grooves.

Denticles: The skin is rough due to a covering of large, erect dermal denticles.

Tail: The caudal fin is broad with a square-cut end and a medium-sized lower lobe.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The West African catshark can be found in the east Atlantic in tropical West Africa from Mauritania to Angola (11°C – 16°C, 20° N and 17° S). They are found on rocky and mud bottoms of the continental shelf and upper slope between 148-1,640 feet. It is considered demersal.

Diet: They eat bony fish.

Aesthetic Identification: The West African catshark is stout, a greyish background, with a few relatively large, and some small scattered dark spots, eight or nine dusky saddles centered on dark spots on the middle of the back. There are no white spots. The patches are similar to those of the Nursehound. The front edge of the anterior dorsal fin is immediately above the posterior end of the pelvic fin. The second dorsal fin is much smaller than the first dorsal fin. The interdorsal space is slightly less than the anal base. The posterior dorsal fin’s leading edge is above the rear part of the anal fin.

Biology and Reproduction: They are more than likely oviparous. The West African catshark was considered to be a subspecies of the Nursehound, but is now considered to be a separate species.

Salinity: 30 ppt. Oxygen: 1.0-1.6 ml/l.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Their behavior is unknown.

West African Catshark Future and Conservation: There is currently not enough data to evaluate. They are probably taken by trawlers.

West African catshark Recorded Attacks on Humans: Not a threat to humans.