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Author: Günther, 1866

Field Marks:
Very short barbels, nasoral grooves present but no perinasal grooves, mouth well in front of eyes, spiracles minute, precaudal tail shorter than head and body, two spineless, broadly rounded, equal-sized dorsal fins and an equally large anal fin, caudal fin short, less than 1/4 of total length, colour dark brown, without spots or other markings.

Diagnostic Features:
Nasal barbels very short, not reaching mouth; tooth crowns very narrow, cusps large and cusplets very small. Origin of first dorsal fin about over pelvic insertions; second dorsal and anal fins about as large as first dorsal; caudal fin short, less than 1/4 of total length.

Geographical Distribution:
Western Indian Ocean: Tanzania, Kenya, and possibly Mauritius and the Scychelles.

Habitat and Biology:
An apparently common but little known inshore bottom shark of the continental and insular shelves of East Africa. Its breeding and feeding habits are unknown.

Maximum total length about 75 cm; adult males 59 to 75 cm.

Interest to Fisheries:
Probably limited, possibly fished locally in artisanal fisheries. Hide exceptionally tough, as in G. cirratum, and possibly of use for leather.

The writer examined the holotype in the British Museum (Natural History) and five other specimens in the collections of the J.L.B. Smith Institute of Ichthyology, Grahamstown, South Africa.

Type material:
Holotype: British Museum (Natural History), BMNH-1867.3.9.423, stuffed dried adolescent male about 590 mm long; length in original account 640 mm. Type Locality: Zanzibar.

Short-tail nurse shark (Ginglymostoma brevicaudatum)