Long-head Catshark

About the Long-head Catshark


The Long-head Catshark is a species of catshark member of the family Scyliorhinidae, found in the Indo-Pacific area.

Biology and Description:

The Long-head Catshark has a soft, very thin body with a long head. The flattened, long snout makes up to 12% of the total length. The small, horizontally oval eyes are somewhat upward-facing and equipped with nictitating membranes. The mouth forms a short, wide arch with well-developed furrows around the corners. It has between 36 – 44 teeth rows in the upper jaw, and over 45 teeth rows in the lower jaw. The first dorsal fin has a rounded apex and is located over the latter of the pelvic fin base. The second dorsal fin is similar in shape but much larger than the first one. The pectoral fins are large and broad. The rounded pelvic fins are medium-sized and positioned close to the pectoral fins. The anal fin is elongated and angular. The narrow caudal fin comprises about one-third of the total length and has a distinctive lower lobe. This species is dark brown to black in colour; the naked patches of skin and the interior of the mouth are black.    

The Long-head Catshark reaches a maximum length of 59 cm. Males and females attain sexual maturity at lengths of 42’49 cm TL and 51 cm TL, respectively. The Long-head catshark is the only known cartilaginous fish that is normally hermaphroditic: some 85% of the population is functionally male and female but also possesses undeveloped reproductive organs of the opposite sex (called “rudimentary hermaphroditism”). This species is oviparous, no more information is available.


The Long-head Catshark is a bathydemersal species found on or near the bottom of the continental slope at depths between 500 – 1,140 m. This species has a patchy distribution in the Indo-West Pacific with records from Tosa Bay, southern Japan, East China Sea, The Philippines, Taiwan, Western Australia, north Queensland, and New Caledonia.


Throughout its geographic range, this species may be taken as bycatch in deepwater fisheries. There are currently no conservation measures in place for this species.   

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Scientific Name Apristurus longicephalus
OrderGround Sharks - Carcharhiniformes
CitesNot Listed
IUCNLeast Concern
Litter Size Unknown
Common Length 60.0 cm
Max LenghtNA
Depth Range 680 - 950 m
DistributionWestern Indian Ocean, Southwest Pacific