Rare catshark only known from one specimen that has white claspers
The White Clasper catshark (Parmaturus albipenis) is a recently described catshark belonging to the family Scyliorhinidae. It is only known from one adult male specimen collected from northern New Caledonia at a depth of 2,257-2,402 feet. As its name suggests, the claspers are white in this male specimen.
Family: Scyliorhinidae – Catsharks
Common Name– Ground Sharks
Common Name– Catsharks
Average Size and Length: The only known specimen is an adult male that measured a total of 41.5 cm/1.4 feet in length.
Teeth and Jaw: The mouth is short; its length is 3.1% of the total length. There are very short labial furrows, confined to the mouth corners. The teeth are tri- or quadricuspidate, in the upper jaw there are about 130 rows.
Head: The head is shorter than the abdomen. The head length is 19.8% of the total length. The snout is short, with a prenarial length of 4.3% of the total length.
Denticles: It has velvety skin, with small, tricuspidate denticles. There is a presence of caudal crests but the denticles are not enlarged, the crests are reaching almost to the second dorsal and anal-fin insertions.
Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The White-Clasper catshark is only known from one specimen collected from the western Pacific Ocean, in northern New Caledonia at a depth of 2,257-2,402 feet. They are considered bathydemersal.
Aesthetic Identification: The White-Clasper catshark has a soft body. The claspers in male sharks are white in color, contrasting with the brownish body coloration. The first dorsal fin is slightly in front of the middle of the back. The pre-first dorsal length is 46.2% of the total length. The origin is slightly in front of the pelvic-fin origin. The pelvic-fin origin is slightly in front of the midbody. The pre-pelvic length is 47.1% of the total length. The vent is slightly behind the mid-body, and the pre-vent length is 52.0% of the total length. The pectoral-pelvic length is 24.2% of the total length. The dorsal fins are large, they are subequal in size, with anterior margins about 11.3% of the total length. The first dorsal fin is more erect than second. There is a well-developed subterminal caudal lobe; the subterminal margin length is 5.7% of the total length. The terminal margin length is 5.1% of the total length.
Biology and Reproduction: There are 39 monospondylous centra, 79 precaudal centra, and 123 total.
Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Unknown.
White-Clasper Catshark Future and Conservation: It is currently of least concern. However, it is only known from one specimen, so the status may need a re-evaluation.
White-Clasper Catshark Recorded Attacks on Humans: Not a threat to humans.