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Characteristics, distribution and ecology
Taxonomische classification
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Author: Hilgendorf, 1904

Field Marks:
A small shark with a spotted colour pattern, an anal fin and two equal-sized, spineless dorsal fins, the first over abdomen slightly closer to pelvic fins than pectorals, large eyes with nictitating eyelids, a triangular mouth that reaches past eyes, very short labial furrows, very small cuspidate teeth including comblike posteriors, large anterior nasal flaps that nearly reach mouth, no barbels or nasoral grooves, and a slender body and rather long tail.

Diagnostic Features:
Body rather slender. Head and snout not bell-shaped in dorsoventral view; preoral snout length about 2/3 of mouth width; anterior nasal flaps large, with rear edges nearly reaching mouth; internarial space 0.4 to 0.6 times nostril width; inside of mouth and edges of gill bars with papillae. First dorsal origin well posterior to pectorals, its base closer to pelvic bases than pectoral bases; anal origin somewhat anterior to second dorsal origin; caudal fin broad, not tapelike, and short, dorsal margin about 17 to 21% of total length. A colour pattern of small to large dark brown spots and sometimes small white spots and indistinct dusky saddle blotches on body and fins.

Geographical Distribution:
Western Pacific: Northwestern Java, Viet Nam, China (including Taiwan Island), Korea, Riu-Kiu Islands, southeastern Japan.

Habitat and Biology:
A little-known, uncommon bottom-dwelling shark of tropical and warm-temperate continental and insular waters, found on the shelves at depths from 50 to 100 m. Oviparous, probably depositing an egg per uterus. Food habits little-known; 6 specimens from the Taiwan Straits examined by the writer had digested remains of bony fishes, a crab, and an unidentified cephalopod (possibly an octopus) in their stomachs.

Maximum 65 cm; adult males from 42 to 57 cm, adult females from 51 to 65 cm.

Interest to Fisheries:
Probably small, taken by bottom trawlers in the Taiwan Straits and elsewhere in its range, utilization unknown.

Calliscyllium venustum Tanaka, 1915, is tentatively included in synonymy of Proscyllium habereri, though there apparently were slight differences in coloration between the holotypes of the two species. Unfortunately the holotype of C. venustum is apparently lost (Nakaya, 1983), so direct comparison of these specimens is no longer possible. However, examination of a number of Proscyllium specimens from Okinawa, Taiwan Island, the South China Sea, and Java showed that these vary considerably in coloration, suggesting that one variable species may be involved (Compagno, 1979). Nakaya (1983) has given a detailed redescription of the holotype of Proscyllium habereri.

Type material:
Holotype: Zoologisches Museum fur Naturkunde der Humboldt Universitat, Berlin, ZMB 16201, 513 mm adult male. Type Locality: Takao, Formosa.

Graceful catshark (Proscyllium habereri)