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Taxonomische classification
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Author: [t]Springer and D'Aubrey, 1972[/t]

Field Marks:
A Halaelurus with rounded snout, moderate-sized abdomen, fairly long anal base, plain light coloration, large size (see diagnostic features and remarks below).

Diagnostic Features:
Snout tip not upturned and knoblike, narrowly rounded; eyes in adults 14 or more times in distance from snout to first dorsal origin; anterior nasal flaps subtriangular; labial furrows rather short, essentially confined to mouth corners, but lowers extending at least5 mm onto lower jaw; mouth moderately large, its width 6 to 8% of total length, its length 4% of total length; papillae absent from pharynx; gills directed laterad, not elevated above level of mouth. Origin of first dorsal fin over or slightly in front of pelvic insertions; second dorsal somewhat smaller than first, its origin about over anal midbase; abdomen moderately long in adults, distance between pectoral and pelvic bases 1.3 to1.6 times pectoral anterior margin; length of anal base about 1.5 times the second dorsal base, slightly shorter than distance between dorsal bases. Colour grey-brown above and light below, sometimes with obscure saddle bands. Adults small, to about 37 cm. Geographical Distribution: Western Indian Ocean: Mozambique and Somalia.

Habitat and Biology:
A deepwater tropical catshark of the continental slope of the western Indian Ocean, on or just above muddy bottom, at 338 to 766 m depth. Apparently ovoviviparous, as egg-cases are thin-walled, extremely fragile baglike structures unlike the stout egg-cases of typical oviparous species, and would be of little protection to developing young. Eats cephalopods, small bony fishes, and crustaceans.

Maximum 39 cm, adult males 31 to 34 cm, and adult females 31 to 39 cm. Size at birth about 10 cm.

Interest to Fisheries:
None at present.

Type material:
Holotype: U.S. National Museum of Natural History, USNM-205135, 326 mm adult male. Type Locality: Off Delagoa Bay, Mozambique, 25°32'5, 33°24'E, 450 to 455 m depth.

Mud catshark (Halaelurus lutarius)