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Taxonomische classification
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Author: (Barnard, 1925)

Field Marks:
A poorly known Apristurus said to differ from other species in its very long interdorsal space, equal to the prespiracular head.

Diagnostic Features:
Snout moderately long, preoral snout about 7% of total length; gill slits probably small, less than eye length; gill septa without projecting medial lobes; eyes rather small in adults, about 2.6% of total length; mouth possibly short and broadly arched, with dental bands not prominently expanded, and with lower ones falling well behind uppers; mouth and labial furrows possibly under eyes; labial furrows possibly not expanded. Interdorsal space considerably greater than first dorsal base, about equal to prespiracular space; first dorsal fin slightly smaller in area than second; origin of first dorsal about over pelvic midbases; insertion of second dorsal opposite anal insertion; anal fin long, its base about equal to prebranchial space in adults. Lateral trunk denticles probably flat. Colour slate-grey. Adults large, 81 cm.

Geographical Distribution:
Eastern South Atlantic: Southwestern Cape Province, South Africa.

Habitat and Biology:
A poorly-known catshark of the continental slope of South Africa, type taken at 915 m depth and other, doubtfully referred specimens at 402 to 1000 m.

Size:
Maximum 81 cm.

Interest to Fisheries:
None.

Remarks:
Barnard's (1925) original description of this species was brief and not illustrated. Bass, d'Aubrey and Kistnasamy (1975a) described three small specimens (the largest 44 cm) from off Saldanha, South Africa in the British Museum (Natural History) which they ascribed to this species, but Springer (1979) thought that the relatively narrow interdorsal spaces (considerably shorter than the prespiracular head) of these specimens did not fit A. saldanha. However, a larger specimen (56 cm) from the same locality recently taken by a Soviet research vessel had a long interdorsal space about equal to the prespiracular head and may be this species (G. Golovan in Springer, 1979). As Barnard's original specimen was quite large, the possibility remains that the difference between it and the BM(NH) specimens are a matter of allometry in a single species. One of the BM(NH) specimens is illustrated above (after Bass, D'Aubrey and Kistnasamy, 1975a).

Type material:
Holotype: Apparently lost. Type Locality: Off Saldanha Bay, South Africa, 915 m depth.

Saldanha catshark (Apristurus saldanha)