A small Caribbean catshark not widely known

The Whitesaddled catshark (Scyliorhinus hesperius) is a species of catshark belonging to the family Scyliorhinidae. It is found on the upper continental slope of the western central Atlantic Ocean in the Caribbean off the coasts of Honduras, Panama and Colombia. Not much is known about this shark, but the adult female specimen that was found was greater than 1.5 feet long and could possibly be oviparous. It has brilliant pattering on a small and slender body.

Family: Scyliorhinidae – Catsharks

Genus: Scyliorhinus 

Species: hesperius


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles


Common NameGround Sharks

Family– Scyliorhinidae

Common NameCatsharks




Average Size and Length: Adult females reach at least 47 cm/ 1.5 feet.

Teeth and Jaw: The labial furrows are on the lower jaw only. The teeth are small with five cusps, with the long, pointed central cusp much longer than the surrounding cusplets. The teeth in the lower jaw are bigger than the teeth in the upper jaw.

Head: It has a conspicuous dark bar under the cat-like eyes. There are small anterior nasal flaps that end in front of the mouth. There are no nasoral grooves.

Denticles: The dermal denticles are small and flat.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Whitesaddled catshark can be found in the western Atlantic Ocean in the Caribbean from Honduras to Panama to Columbia (22° N and 9° N). They are found on the upper continental slope on or near the bottom between 899-1,499 feet. It is considered bathydemersal.

Aesthetic Identification: The Whitesaddled catshark is fairly small and slender. There are sever or eight well-defined dark saddles densely covered with closely spaced white spots which sometimes extend to lighter spaces between saddles. There are no black spots. The second dorsal fin is much smaller than the first. The front of the first dorsal fin is located above and just behind the base of the pelvic fin and the front of the second dorsal fin is located above the hind third of the base of the anal fin. The distance between the two is about the same as the length of the anal fin.

Biology and Reproduction: Unknown, but possibly oviparous producing two eggs at a time. More research is needed.  

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Unknown.

Whitesaddled Catshark Future and Conservation: There is currently not enough data to evaluate. It probably lives at depths too great to be a target for fisheries but seems to be an uncommon species.

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