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Characteristics, distribution and ecology
Taxonomische classification
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Author: (Talwar, 1974)

Field Marks:
A small catshark with a stout body, no labial furrows, and with a simple colour pattern of dark saddles, head extremely broad, snout obtusely wedge-shaped, anterior nasal flaps elongate, lobate, and overlapping mouth posteriorly.

Diagnostic Features:
Snout obtusely wedge-shaped in dorsoventral view, extremely broad and short; anterior nasal flaps broadly subtriangular and with a triangular rear margin, overlapping mouth posteriorly. Claspers very slender and elongated. Colour pattern of seven moderately broad dark brown saddles on a light brown background, plus an obscure darker blotch over the pectoral inner margins, underside of head and abdomen unspotted and light brown; fins without conspicuous light margins. A dwarf species (see size below).

Geographical Distribution:
Presently known only from the vicinity of Quilon, India, where it is relatively common (P.K. Talwar, pers.comm.).

Habitat and Biology:
A little-known bottom-dwelling shark of the uppermost continental slope. The type series, including the holotype and three paratypes, were collected at 300 m depth with an otter trawl.

Size:
Probably a dwarf species, as the largest known specimen, a male, is adult at 36 cm long.

Interest to Fisheries:
None at present.

Remarks:
Springer (1979) listed this species in Halaelurus as an apparent synonym of Halaelurus quagga, but stated that the species was of uncertain validity. Reexamination of the type series of S. (H.) silasi indicates that the species is valid and a distinct member of the genus Cephaloscyllium (Compagno and Talwar, 1983, in press). The illustration is based on an adult male paratype.

Type material:
Holotype: Zoological Survey of India, Calcutta, ZSI F.6562/2, 318 mm female. Type Locality Indian Ocean, off Quilon, Kerala, India, 9°N, 76°E at 300 m depth.

Indian swellshark (Cephaloscyllium silasi)