Exciting News! A new species of shark has been discovered!
Recently discovered in the southwestern Indian Ocean, the Dusky Snout Catshark (Bythaelurus naylori) is one of 10 recognised species of Bythaelurus (Catshark):
- Bythaelurus alcockii Garman, 1913 (Arabian catshark)
- Bythaelurus canescens Günther, 1878 (Dusky catshark)
- Bythaelurus clevai Séret, 1987 (Broadhead catshark)
- Bythaelurus dawsoni S. Springer, 1971 (New Zealand catshark)
- Bythaelurus giddingsi J. E. McCosker, Long & C. C. Baldwin, 2012 (Galápagos catshark)
- Bythaelurus hispidus Alcock, 1891 (Bristly catshark)
- Bythaelurus immaculatus Y. T. Chu & Q. W. Meng, 1982 (Spotless catshark)
- Bythaelurus incanus Last & J. D. Stevens, 2008 (Sombre catshark)
- Bythaelurus lutarius S. Springer & D’Aubrey, 1972 (Mud catshark)
- Bythaelurus naylori Ebert & Clerkin, 2015 (Dusky snout catshark)
The proposed common name Dusky Snout Catshark is in reference to the prominent dusky to dark coloration on the snout of this catshark.
The specimens were collected from 89–1,443 m depth in both bottom trawls and midwater trawls. This species can be distinguished from its two closest relatives by a combination of prominent comb-like dermal denticles along the upper caudal fin margin (tail-fin), the absence of oral papillae (fleshy lumps in the mouth), uniform body coloration, and noticeable dark dusky snout.
Although they are generally known as catsharks, many species are commonly called dogfish. Catsharks are found in temperate and tropical seas worldwide, ranging from very shallow intertidal waters to depths of 3 m (9.8 ft) or more, depending on species.
The new species at present is known only from the Southwest Indian Ridge, southwestern Indian Ocean. The specimens were collected from 89–1,443 m depth so they live too deep for us to see them in their atural habitat.
For a catshark, the dusky-nosed catshark is fairly large. Females are estimated to reach a maximum total length of at
least 54.8 cm and males at least 51.1 cm.
For the full scientific report on this discovery go here:
Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation, Vol 15: 53-63
Here is some rare footage of its cousin – the chain catshark – taken by Nautilus Live, an ocean exploration expedition (you can find out more about them here) :