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Characteristics, distribution and ecology
Taxonomische classification
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Author: (Regan, 1904)

Field Marks:
A catshark with pointed, upturned snout tip, broad head, coloration of broad bars and no spots.

Diagnostic Features:
Snout tip pointed, upturned and knoblike; eyes in adults 11 to 14 times in distance from snout to first dorsal origin; anterior nasal flaps subtriangular or semilobate; labial furrows rather short, essentially confined to mouth corners, but lowers extending at least 5 mm onto lower jaw; mouth moderately large, its width 7 to 9% oftotal length; its length 2 to 3% of total length; papillae present in pharynx; gills directed dorsolaterally, elevated above level of mouth. Origin of first dorsal over last third of pelvic bases; second dorsal considerably larger than first, its origin about over anal insertion; length of anal base about 1.3 times the second dorsal base, slightly longer than distance between dorsal bases. Colour yellow-brown above, cream below, with 10 pairs of broad dark brown bars enclosing lighter areas, without spots or vermiculated markings between them. Adults to 47 cm.

Geographical Distribution:
Western Indian Ocean: South Africa (Cape and Natal coasts) and Mozambique.

Habitat and Biology:
An inshore to offshore temperate catshark of the southern African continentai shelf, found on or near the bottom, from close inshore to possibly 172 m depth. Individuals caught offshore in trawls are mostly adult.

Oviparous, can have 6 to 11 egg-cases per oviduct (more usually 6 to 9) at a time.Each egg-case is about 4 by 1.5 cm long, with strong, thick tendrils to attach them to the substrate. Although the eggs are eventually laid, they are apparently retained inside the oviducts until the embryos inside them are fairly advanced (at least 43 mm long), which lowers their hatching time and exposure to egg-predators.

Feeds primarily on small bony fishes and crustaceans, but also cephalopods and small elasmobranchs.

Maximum 47 cm, adult males 42 to 45 cm, adult females 47 cm.

Interest to Fisheries:
None at present, commonly taken by bottom trawlers and also taken by sports anglers with rod and reel.

Until recently two species were confused under this name, the present one and the recently described H. Iineatus. Hence there are few dependable depth records for H. natalensis.

Type material:
Holotype: In British Museum (Natural History), 2 syntypes?. Type Locality: Natal, South Africa.

Tiger catshark (Halaelurus natalensis)