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Characteristics, distribution and ecology
Taxonomische classification
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Author: (Smith, 1957)

Field Marks:
A dwarf, slender sharklet with an anal fin and two equal-sized, spineless dorsal fins, first dorsal fin over abdomen slightly closer to pelvic fins than pectorals, preoral snout over two times mouth length, nictitating eyelids, a triangular mouth, very short labial furrows, comblike posterior teeth, short anterior nasal flaps that do not reach mouth, no nasoral grooves or barbels, a long, narrow, ribbonlike caudal fin with faint dark banding, and grey-brown coloration.

Diagnostic Features:
Preoral snout over two times mouth length; Iabial furrows very short. Dorsal fins mo'derately large and high, with anterior margin of first dorsal at a high angle to body axis; anal fin height less than half dorsal heights; junction of preventral and postventral caudal margins broadly rounded. Lateral trunk denticles broad-crowned and with short, broad cusps. Colour brownish grey, with dark banding on caudal fin and light margins on dorsal fins.

Geographical Distribution:
Confined to the southwestern Indian Ocean off South Africa, Mozambique and Tanzania.

Habitat and Biology:
A deepwater warm-temperate and tropical bottom-dwelling shark of the upper continental slope and outer shelf of east and southern Africa at depths of 180 to 480 m. Apparently geographic or bathymetric segregation ofpopulations by sex occurs, as most specimens taken off Natal are male.

Oviparous, number of young in a litter two. A harmless small shark that feeds on small bony fishes, crustaceans, and cephalopods.

Size:
Maximum 37 cm, males maturing at about 29 or 30 cm and reaching at least 30 cm, females mature at 37 cm; size at birth between 15 and 17 cm.

Interest to Fisheries:
Minimal or nil.

Type material:
Holotype: J.L.B. Smith Institute of Ichthyology, Grahamstown, South Africa, RUSI 31, 331 mm adult male. Type Locality: Off Durban, South Africa, at 329 m depth.

African ribbontail catshark (Eridacnis sinuans)