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Characteristics, distribution and ecology
Taxonomische classification
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Author: (Alcock, 1899)

Field Marks:
A Halaelurus with pointed but not upturned snout, short abdomen, and bold vertically striped zebra colour pattern.

Diagnostic Features:
Snout tip pointed, but not strongly upturned and knoblike; eyes in adults 12 to 13 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 least 5 mm onto lower jaw; mouth moderately large, its width 6 to 9% of total length, its length 4% of total length; papillae absent from pharynx?; gills directed dorsolaterad, elevated above level of mouth. First dorsal origin about opposite pelvic insertions; second dorsal somewhat larger than first, with origin about opposite or slightly behind anal insertion; abdomen short in adults, distance between pectoral and pelvic bases 1.2 times pectoral anterior margin; length of anal base about 1.1 to 1.3 times the second dorsal base, considerably shorter than distance between dorsal bases. Colour light brown above, lighter below, with over 20 dark brown narrow vertical bars, with pairs forming saddles under dorsal fins but otherwise single, no spots between bars. Adults small, 35 cm or less.

Geographical Distribution:
Indian Ocean: Somalia, India.

Habitat and Biology:
A little-known tropical offshore catshark of the continental shelves of the northwestern Indian Ocean, found on or near the bottom at 54 to 186 m depth.

Size:
Maximum about 35 cm, adult males 28 to 35 cm, size at hatching (or birth?) about 8 cm.

Interest to Fisheries:
None at present.

Remarks:
The writer examined the holotype of this species in the Zoological Survey of India, Calcutta, from which the illustration is derived. This has a pointed, knoblike but not prominently upturned snout-tip. There are some differences in colour pattern between the holotype, from southwestern India, and the Somalian material described by Springer and D'Aubrey (1972) and Springer (1979).

Type material:
Holotype: Zoological Survey of India, ZSI F751/1, 273 mm adult male. Type Locality: Laccadive Sea, India, 187 m.

Quagga catshark (Halaelurus quagga)