We like to bring you #diversesharks here at The Fins United Initiative. With so many species to choose from, it’s no wonder that even we are surprised when coming across a critter that isn’t talked about. While more famous sharks like great whites or whale sharks are jawsome, the ones that aren’t as well-known are just as interesting.
Take, for instance, this week’s catshark, Eridacnis barbouri. While it’s genus name is from the Greek words “eri” and “dakno” meaning “very” and “to bite,” respectively, it will do no such thing as they are rather small, like most catsharks, only reaching a length of 34 cm (13.4 inches).
Its common name is the “Cuban ribbontail catshark,” and while it lacks any actual ribbons on its tail, we can see why someone would think of it as such. This is a finback catshark, belonging to the Proscyllidae family (which comprises of two species), and is most commonly seen off of west/central Atlantic Ocean waters. They like to be deep, observed anywhere from 430-613 meters down. Of the two ribbontail catsharks, the Cuban ribbontail is the only one found in North America.
This slender shark is light grey in color, and its first dorsal fin is smaller than its second dorsal fin in height. The species is largely understudied, with most of its biological history unknown. We can assume they are ovoviviparous, however, based on other catsharks.
As can be guessed on its name, it was discovered off the northern Cuban coast, confined to the warmer waters of that area up to the Florida Straits. They prefer the upper continental and insular slopes, and although diet is yet to be described, we can assume they feed on small fishes, crustaceans and cephalopods. A yummy appetite indeed!
IUCN has determined the conservation status of this species as Data Deficient (DD). You may also see it referred to as the “Pygmy Dogfish.”
pack your bags, lets head to cuba!
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TFUI Founder Melissa C. Marquez is author of all animal bios and "Behind the Fins" segments.
SEE MELISSA'S TEDx TALK HERE:
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