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Cat Sharks. Scyliorhinidae species.
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Species: ApristurusmAsymbolus, Atelomycterus, Aulohalaelurus, Bythaelurus, Cephaloscyllium, Cephalurus, Figaro, Galeus, Halaelurus, Haploblepharus, Holohalaelurus, Parmaturus, Pentanchus, Poroderma, Schroederichthys & Scyliorhinus
Taxonomic name (of species shown): Asymbolus rubiginosus
With 17 genera and over 150 species, catsharks are the largest family of sharks. The
name 'catshark' comes from these sharks' cat-like eyes and their slender
shape. Despite their diversity, very little is known about them. This
is due partly to their nocturnal lifestyle and deep-water habitats; some
species are found a depth of more than 2000 m while others can be found
in shallow sheltered bays.
It can be difficult to differentiate between species of catsharks due
to similarities in colouring and patterns as well as overlapping ranges
with both shallow and deep water species. Catsharks can be found in all
Australian waters from the far northern tropics to the cold temperate
zones south of Tasmania. Externally they differ from the similar dogfishes
by having an anal fin and from the houndsharks by having the first dorsal
fin, when viewed in profile, slightly over or behind the pelvic fins.
These harmless sharks live on the seabed where they eat small fish and
Draughtboard Swell Shark (Cephaloscyllium laticeps)
The swell sharks, so named for their ability to blow themselves up like
blimps with water or air, make up a large group within this family. The
most common species of swell shark encountered by anglers and divers is
the harmless Draughtboard Shark. It is found in cool southern waters from
New South Wales to Western Australia. Its brown to grey body is covered
with dark blotches and spots that give it the appearance of a chessboard.
The head is slightly flattened and the golden eyes are almond-shaped.
The pectoral fins are large and two dorsal fins are set well back on the
body. Draughtboard Sharks are often found squeezed into lobster pots where
they have become caught while looking for food. Their pale ridged egg
cases are often found attached to kelp or weed.