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Author: Compagno, 1973

Field Marks:
The huge, triangular, saillike spineless first dorsal fin about as long as the caudal fin, the nictitating eyelids, the presence of an anal fin, and the long preoral snout 1.6 to 1.7 times the mouth width distinguish this small, grey-brown houndshark from all other species.

Diagnostic Features:
Snout very long and bell-shaped in dorsoventral view, preoral length 1.6 to 1.7 times the mouth width; eyes horizontally oval and dorsolateral, subocular ridges strong; anterior nasal flaps vestigial, formed as small, low, angular points, well separated from each other and mouth; no nasoral grooves; internarial width about 2 times nostril width; mouth very broadly arched and short; labial furrows moderately long, uppers reaching level of upper symphysis; teeth bladelike, compressed, and cuspidate, moderately differentiated in jaws, anteroposteriors with oblique cusps and cusplets, uppers with slenderer cusps and more cusplets than lowetrs; medial teeth well differentiated from anteroposteriors. First dorsal fin very large and sail-like, its base almost equal to length of dorsal caudal margin; its origin over or somewhat anterior to pectoral insertions, and its midbase equidistant between pectoral and pelvic bases or somewhat closer to pectorals; second dorsal smaller than first, about 2/3 as high as first; anal fin considerably smaller than second dorsal; ventral caudal lobe hardly developed in young but short and strong in adults; terminal lobe of caudal fin moderately long and about 3.1 to 3.8 times in dorsal caudal margin.

Geographical Distribution:
Western South Pacific: Northern New Guinea.

Habitat and Biology:
A little-known shark of the New Guinea continental shelf, the only specimen of which was taken at 73 m depth, probably near the bottom. Ovoviviparous, number of young 2 per litter.

Maximum 74 cm (adult female); size at birth at or near about 22 cm (fetuses of holotype full-term or nearly so).

Interest to Fisheries:

Type material:
Holotype: AustralianMuseum, Sydney, AMS 1.16858-001, 739 mm adult female with two fetuses (one in California Academy of Sciences, CAS-27588). Type Locality: Astrolabe Bay, northern New Guinea, about 1 mile north of the Gogol River mouth, ca. 5°18'S, 145°50'E,73 m depth.

Sailback houndshark (Gogolia filewoodi)