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Apristurus laurussonii

(Flathead Catshark)


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Family : Cat sharks ; Fairly common on the upper continental slopes , usually over mud or other soft sea bottom [1]. Oviparous [2].

Common Names

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Click on the language to view common names.

Common Names in Arabic:

ريدام ءاَ, يسلطأ حبش

Common Names in Dutch:

Atlantische spookkathaai, Ijslandse kathaai

Common Names in English:

Flathead Catshark, Atlantic Flyingfish, Atlantic ghost cat shark, Atlantic ghost catshark, Cat shark, Flathead cat shark, Iceland cat shark, Iceland catshark, Icelandic catshark, Madeira catshark, Medeira shark

Common Names in French:

Roussette De Mad?re, Holbiche atlantique, Roussette d'Islande, Roussette De Mad, Roussette de Madère

Common Names in Icelandic:


Common Names in Mandarin Chinese:

冰岛光尾鲨, 冰島光尾鯊, 大西洋光尾鯊, 大西洋光尾鲨, 馬德拉光尾鯊, 马德拉光尾鲨

Common Names in Spanish:

Pejegato Atl, Pejegato atlántico, Pejegato de Madera, Pejegato Isl, Pejegato Isl?ndico, Pejegato islandico, Pintarroja Atl, Pintarroja atlántica

Common Names in Spanish, Castilian:

Pejegato atlántico, Pejegato de Madera, Pejegato islándico, Pintarroja atlántica


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May be found at depths of 560 to 1462 meters.

Typically found in water with a depth of 0 to -2,628 meters (0 to -8,622 feet).[3]

Ecology: Apristurus laurussonii is apparently common on the continental slope at 560 to 2,060 m depth (Compagno in prep. b , Compagno et al. 2005). Apristurus laurussonii together with A. parvipinnis are reported to be the commonest Apristurus species in the Gulf of Mexico.

Maximum size recorded is ~72 cm TL (Nakaya and Sato 1998, 1999). The smallest mature female reported in the scientific literature is 59.2 cm TL (Nakaya and Sato 1998, 1999). Reproduction is oviparous with one egg per oviduct . Egg cases are thick, and about 6 cm long and 2.5 cm wide. The anterior end of the case has a long weak fibrous thread on each corner. The posterior end has two small processes each with a long coiled tendril . The surface of the egg case is covered by short, fine fibers that form a pattern of numerous fine striations running the length of the case (Nakaya and Sato 1998). As in shallow water scyliorhinids the coiled tendrils are probably used to attach the egg cases to hard substrates and/or biogenic structures as they are laid.

Apristurus species are relatively small, sluggish sharks that live on or near the bottom . Diet includes crustaceans (penaeid shrimps, euphausiids ), squids and small fishes (Compagno 1984, in prep. b).[4].

List of Habitats :


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Apristurus atlanticusApristurus laurussoniApristurus laurussoni (Saemundsson • Apristurus laurussoni (Saemundsson, 1922) • Apristurus laurussoniiApristurus maderensisApristurus maderensis Cadenat & Maul • Scyllium laurussoniiScyllium laurussonii Saemundsson


Name Status: Accepted Name .

Last scrutiny: Data last modified by FishBase 17-Feb-1994

The genus Apristurus contains at least 32 described species and a relatively large number of potentially undescribed ones. Morphological conservatism and, until recently, a lack of objectively defined characters makes this one of the most taxonomically confused shark genera (Compagno 1984, Nakaya and Sato 1999).

Nakaya and Sato (1999) defined three species groups within Apristurus: the longicephalus-group (two species), brunneus-group (20 species), and spongiceps-group (10 species). A. laurussonii belongs to the brunneus-group, characterized by: a short, wide snout (prenarial length
A. atlanticus was preciously distinguished from A. laurussonii (Nakaya and Sato 1998), however Iglésias and Nakaya (2004) could not find any significant differences between the holotype of A. atlanticus and A. laurussonii, and therefore consider A. atlanticus to be a junior synonym of A. laurussonii. Note : the illustration of A. atlanticus in Compagno (1984) is actually A. aphyodes (Nakaya and Sato 1998).[4].

Similar Species

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Members of the genus Apristurus

ZipcodeZoo has pages for 39 species and subspecies in this genus:

A. acanutus (Flatnose Cat Shark) · A. albisoma (Whitish Catshark) · A. ampliceps (Roughskin Catshark) · A. aphyodes (White Ghost Catshark) · A. atlanticus (Atlantic Catshark) · A. australis (Pinocchio Catshark) · A. brunneus (Brown Cat Shark) · A. bucephalus (Bighead Catshark) · A. canutus (Hoary Cat Shark) · A. exsanguis (Deepwater Catshark) · A. fedorovi (Stout Catshark) · A. gibbosus (Humpback Cat Shark) · A. herklotsi (Longsnouted Catshark) · A. indicus (Smallbelly Cat Shark) · A. internatus (Shortnose Demon Catshark) · A. investigatoris (Broadnose Cat Shark) · A. japonicus (Japanese Cat Shark) · A. kampae (Longnose Cat Shark) · A. laurussoni (Atlantic Ghost Cat Shark) · A. laurussonii (Flathead Catshark) · A. longicephalus (Smooth-Belly Catshark) · A. macrorhynchus (Flathead Cat Shark) · A. macrostomus (Broadmouth Cat Shark) · A. manis (Ghost Cat Shark) · A. melanoasper (Black Roughscale Catshark) · A. microps (Smalleye Cat Shark) · A. micropterygeus (Smalldorsal Cat Shark) · A. nasutus (Largenose Cat Shark) · A. parvipinnis (Smallfin Cat Shark) · A. parvipinnisin (Smallfin Cat Shark) · A. pinguis (Fat Catshark) · A. platyrhynchus (Spatulasnout Cat Shark) · A. profundorum (Deepwater Cat Shark) · A. riveri (Broadgill Cat Shark) · A. saldanha (Saldanha Cat Shark) · A. sibogae (Pale Catshark Pale Catshark) · A. sinensis (South China Cat Shark) · A. spongiceps (Spongehead Cat Shark) · A. stenseni (Panama Ghost Cat Shark)

More Info

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Further Reading

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Data Sources

Accessed through GBIF Data Portal March 05, 2008:



  1. Springer, S. (1990). Scyliorhinidae. p. 90-94. In J.C. Quero, J.C. Hureau, C. Karrer, A. Post and L. Saldanha (eds.) Check-list of the fishes of the eastern tropical Atlantic (CLOFETA). JNICT, Lisbon; SEI, Paris; and UNESCO, Paris. Vol. 1. ... [back]
  2. Dulvy, N.K. and J.D. Reynolds (1997). Evolutionary transitions among egg-laying, live-bearing and maternal inputs in sharks and rays. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B 264:1309-1315. [back]
  3. Mean = -891.580 meters (-2,925.131 feet), Standard Deviation = 841.520 based on 48 observations. Ocean depth information for each observation from British Oceanographic Data Centre. [back]
  4. Duffy, C. & Huveneers, C. 2007. Apristurus laurussonii. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. <>. Downloaded on 30 January 2012. [back]
Last Revised: 2014-11-21