Spotted swellshark

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

The spotted swellshark (Cephaloscyllium maculatum) is a species of catshark, family Scyliorhinidae, known only from a single 18.8 cm (7.4 in) long juvenile specimen caught off eastern Taiwan. It is a fairly slender shark with a short, flattened head and a relatively small mouth, and is characterized by its color pattern of angular hollow saddles and lateral blotches on a brownish background. Like other swellsharks, this species has a greatly expandable stomach.

Taxonomy

The sole known specimen of the spotted swellshark was collected on April 3, 1988 from Su-ao, Taiwan, by David Ebert, who described it in conjunction with Jayna Schaaf-Da Silva in a 2008 issue of the scientific journal Zootaxa.[1] They gave the shark the specific epithet maculatum, which means "spotted" in Latin.[1]

Distribution and habitat

The spotted swellshark has only been found off the eastern coast of Taiwan.[1]

Description

The sole known specimen of the spotted swellshark is a 18.8 cm (7.4 in) long juvenile male. Its body is relatively slender and it has a short, wide, and moderately flattened head. The snout is broadly rounded, with the large nostrils preceded by short and triangular flaps of skin. The eyes are small, oval, and cat-like, with broad ridges underneath; they are followed by tiny spiracles. The mouth is relatively small, without furrows at the corners, and contains 48 upper tooth rows and 52 lower tooth rows; each tooth is very small, 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, though slightly larger than the second dorsal fin, and originates over or behind the middle of the pelvic fin bases. The anal fin is larger than either dorsal fin. 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. The juvenile coloration is brown to beige above, with darker lines forming a series of eight angular hollow saddles from the head to the tail, and additional angular hollow blotches on the sides, including above the pectoral and pelvic fins and on the larger fins. the underside is pale and unmarked. While the adult coloration is unknown, the juvenile coloration differs from that of the juveniles of all other Cephaloscyllium species in the region.[1]

Biology and ecology

Virtually nothing is known of the natural history of the spotted swellshark. When threatened, it is likely capable of inflating its body with water or air 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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