Leopard-spotted swellshark

Leopard-spotted swellshark
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Subclass: Elasmobranchii
Order: Carcharhiniformes
Family: Scyliorhinidae
Genus: Cephaloscyllium
Species: C. pardelotum
Binomial name
Cephaloscyllium pardelotum
Schaaf-Da Silva & Ebert, 2008

The leopard-spotted swellshark (Cephaloscyllium pardelotum) is a species of catshark, family Scyliorhinidae, known only from a single 20.2 cm (8.0 in) long juvenile specimen caught off southern Taiwan. This species has a rather slender build with a short, flattened head and a large mouth. It is characterized by its color pattern of dark brown rosettes and "H"-shaped hollow dorsal saddles. Like other swellsharks, this species has a greatly expandable stomach.

Taxonomy

The sole known specimen of the leopard-spotted swellshark was collected on April 21, 1988 from Tungkang, Taiwan, by David Ebert, who described it in conjunction with Jayna Schaaf-Da Silva in a 2008 issue of the scientific journal Zootaxa. They gave it the specific epithet pardelotum from the Latin pardus, meaning "leopard".[1]

Distribution and habitat

The leopard-spotted swellshark has only been found off southern Taiwan.[1]

Description

The known specimen of the leopard-spotted swellshark is a juvenile female 20.2 cm (8.0 in) long. It has a relatively slender body and a short, somewhat flattened head with a broadly rounded snout. The large nostrils are preceded by laterally expanded, two-lobed skin flaps that do not reach the mouth. The eyes are small and oval, with broad ridges underneath, and followed by tiny spiracles. The wide mouth lacks furrows at the corners and contains 60 tooth rows in either jaw; each tooth is minute, with a central cusp and a pair of lateral cusplets. The five pairs of gill slits are very short.[1]

The pectoral fins are large and broad, while the pelvic fins are small. The first dorsal fin is small and originates over or behind the middle of the pelvic fin bases. The second dorsal fin is slightly smaller than the first dorsal, while the anal fin is larger than the first. The caudal fin is broad, with a strong ventral notch near the tip of the upper lobe. The skin is thick and covered by well-calcified dermal denticles. This shark is golden brown above, with small dark brown flecks and rosettes (a ring of 5–6 dots) over the head and sides, and seven "H"-shaped hollow saddles along the back and tail. The edges of the saddles are variegated and less defined than those of the reticulated swellshark (C. fasciatum). The underside is pale and unmarked. While the adult coloration is unknown, the juvenile coloration is unlike that of the juveniles of any other Cephaloscyllium species in the region.[1]

Biology and ecology

Almost nothing is known of the natural history of the leopard-spotted swellshark. It is likely capable of inflating itself with water or air as a defensive measure, like other swellsharks.[1]

Human interactions

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has not assessed the conservation status of the leopard-spotted swellshark.[2]

References

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