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Author: Bleeker, 1860

Field Marks:
No anal fin, two dorsal fins with large spines, bladelike unicuspidate teeth in upper and lower jaws, with lowers much larger than uppers, a moderately long snout, moderate-sized first dorsal fin and very small second dorsal, blocklike sessile-crowned, wide-spaced, cuspidate lateral denticles, and rear tips of pectoral fins narrowly angular and greatly elongated.

Diagnostic Features:
Snout moderately long and parabolic, preoral snout greater than mouth to pectoral origins; upper anterolateral teeth with semierect or oblique cusps. First dorsal fin fairly high and short; second dorsal very small, half height of first dorsal or less, with base less than 1/2 to nearly 3/5 length of first dorsal base, and spine origin well behind rear tips of pelvic fins; distance from first dorsal insertion to origin of second dorsal spine greater than distance from tip of snout to pectoral insertions in adults; free rear tips of pectoral fins formed into narrow, angular and greatly elongated lobes that reach well beyond the level of first dorsal spine, inner margins equal or longer than distance from second dorsal spine to caudal origin; caudal fin with a deeply notched postventral margin in adults. Lateral trunk denticles not overlapping each other, blocklike, with crowns sessile on bases and no pedicels, crowns broad, squared or vertically rhomboidal in adults, with a strong main cusp and no lateral cusps on their posterior edges.

Geographical Distribution:
Western Indian Ocean: South Africa, southern Mozambique. Western Pacific: Japan (Okinawa), Indonesia (Ambon), Australia (Victoria), New Hebrides, New Caledonia.

Habitat and Biology:
A common deep-water dogfish of the outer continental shelves and upper slopes on or near the bottom at depths from 128 to 823 m. Ovoviviparous, number of young two per litter. Full term fetuses were found in summer off South Africa. Eats primarily bony fish, including lanternfish, bramids, carangids, worm-eels, bonito, hairtails, oilfishes, as well as other dogfish sharks, squid, octopi, shrimp, and even tunicates.

Size:
Maximum about 98 cm; males maturing between 69 and 73 cm and reaching 86 cm; females maturing above 89 cm and reaching 98 cm; size at birth about 31 to 37 cm.

Interest to Fisheries:
Presumably taken by bottom trawlers off South Africa and Australia. Potentially important for its abundance off the coasts of South Africa and southern Mozambique. Probably figures in the shark liveroil fishery off Okinawa.

Remarks:
Centrophorus moluccensis Bleeker, 1860 was described from a fetal specimen from Ambon, Indonesia (RMNH 7415, holotype of the species), and has either been recognized as a valid species (Regan, 1908d; Garman, 1913) or a dubious species (Dumeril, 1865; Günther, 1870; Fowler, 1941; Bigelow and Schroeder, 1957) of Centrophorus. Günther (1870) noted that Bleeker sent a specimen of C. moluccensis to the British Museum (Natural History), which Günther, and later Regan (1908b) incorrectly regarded as the "type of Centrophorus moluccensis Bleeker" (Günther, 1870). I examined this specimen (BMNH 1867.11.28.201, a 220 mm late fetal female in good condition), and found it agrees with published accounts of C. scalpratus in its relatively narrow-based first dorsal fin, first dorsal origin well behind pectoral origins, very small second dorsal fin with its height about half the first dorsal height and its origin well behind the pelvic fins, and long, attenuated pectoral fin inner margins. Through the help of Drs M. Boeseman and M.J.P. van Oijen of the Rijksmuseum van Natuurlijke Historie, Leiden, I was provided information on two specimens of Bleeker's C. moluccensis catalogued under RMNH 7415, the 188 mm holotype and another, 208 mm specimen. The holotype is in poor condition, at present, but agrees with C. scalpratus in the positions of its first and second dorsal fins. The 208 mm fetus agrees with the BMNH fetus and published data on C. scalpratus in the above particulars. It is not known for certain if the three fetuses came from differentmothers, except that the mention of only the 188 mm specimen in Bleeker's original description of C. moluccensis suggests that at least this specimen had different parentage than the two other fetuses. In any event, the three fetuses are apparently conspecific with each other; they are tentatively considered as conspecific with published material of C. scalpratus, and this species is ranked as a junior synonym of C. moluccensis.

Type material:
Holotype: Rijksmuseum van Natuurlijke Historie, RMNH 7415, 188 mm late fetus. Type Locality: Ambon, Indonesia.

Smallfin gulper shark (Centrophorus moluccensis)