TFUI Founder Melissa has a soft spot for roughsharks… just because they are so unique in their looks. The Caribbean roughshark, Oxynotus caribbaeus, is no exception to this. It’s a rare, small, deepwater benthic shark that has been recorded from the Gulf of Mexico, Honduras and Venezuela.
Like others in the Oxynotidae family, they are a chubby-looking angular critter with a blunt snout, a short body, and two high dorsal fins armed with spines for protection. All around it are large dermal denticles that make it rough to the touch… hence the common name. Caribbean roughsharks are a light grey color with dark bands and splotches throughout their body. Preferring the deep waters of the upper continental slopes in their range (402 to 457 m), they are a small shark only reaching a maximum size of about 49 cm total length (TL). Like many deep-sea sharks, virtually nothing known about its biology or it in general.
Their spear-shaped teethies (a scientific term, we assure you) lend to the idea these sharks probably feed on fish and maybe some invertebrates… but we won’t know until we know! Reproduction-wise, they may be similar to other roughsharks and give birth to live pups that develop after hatching from eggs inside the mother. Caribbean roughsharks are not targeted by fisheries and are uncommon bycatch. There is insufficient information available for the IUCN assess the species beyond Data Deficient (DD).
EVER HEARD OF THIS SHARK?
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TFUI Founder Melissa C. Marquez is author of all animal bios and "Behind the Fins" segments.
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