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Characteristics, distribution and ecology
Taxonomische classification
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Author: Whitley, 1932

Field Marks:
A catshark with a stout body, no labial furrows, second dorsal fin much smaller than first, and with a simple colour pattern of dark saddles and light-margined fins, anterior nasal flaps elongate, lobate, and not overlapping mouth posteriorly.

Diagnostic Features:
Snout broadly roundedangular in dorsoventral view, moderately short; anterior nasal flaps elongate and lobate, not overlapping mouth posteriorly. Claspers short and stout. Colour pattern of eight or nine prominent greybrown saddles on a light tan or grey-brown background, underside of head and abdomen unspotted; precaudal fins grey-brown with conspicuous light margins. A large species (see size below).

Geographical Distribution:
Western Pacific: Australia (New South Wales, and South Australia).

Habitat and Biology:
A little-known, bottom-dwelling shark of the outer continental shelf, occurring at depths of 146 to 220 m. Probably oviparous, although egg-cases of this species remain to be positively identified.

Probably at least 1 m, adult males over 80 cm.

Interest to Fisheries:
Very limited, taken by commercial trawlers with bottom trawls.

This species was considered a 'form' or subspecies of C. laticeps or C. isabella by Whitley (1932, 1940), and included in synonymy of C. isabella by Springer (1979), but examination of the holotype (illustrated) and other material suggests that this is a separate species. It is apparently not identical to the small western North Pacific swellshark termed C. umbratile by various writers, which has a superficially similar colour pattern.

Type material:
Holotype: Australian Museum, Sydney, AMS IA 2829, 255 mm female, immature. Type Locality: Montague Island, New South Wales, Australia (165 m depth).

Whitefinned swellshark (Cephaloscyllium nascione)