This next critter is a species of catshark in the Scyliorhinidae family. Introducing the Icelandic catshark (Apristurus laurussonii)! And as their common name states, yes, they are found around Iceland. But the Icelandic catshark has also been observed in the western Atlantic all the way down to the northern Gulf of Mexico and in the eastern Atlantic down to South Africa. Seems this catshark gets around quite a bit! You probably have not seen it, however, because they prefer depths of 550 to 1450 meters. This is usually near continental slopes.
The Icelandic catshark has a rather slender body that flattens out a wee bit towards the head (which is also why it’s known as the Flathead Catshark). Its snout is long, broad, and a bit bell-shaped. Unlike many deep sea sharks that have elongated gill slits, the Icelandic catshark has short gill slits. Both dorsal fins are about the same size, and overall it is a dark brown color. Like many deep-water sharks, they tend to be on the sluggish side (#goals).
Icelandic catsharks have been measured up to 67 cm in length, average size being a bit smaller (50-60 cm). #Finfact: There are at least 32 described species! These sharks like to eat a variety of animals such as squid, teleost fish, marine worms, and crustaceans. TFUI was not able to find the reproductive methods of the Icelandic catshark; perhaps they have not been described. In fact, much is still unknown about this animal which is why the IUCN has assessed them as Data Deficient (DD).
did you know about this catshark?
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TFUI Founder Melissa C. Marquez is author of all animal bios and "Behind the Fins" segments.
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