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Characteristics, distribution and ecology
Taxonomische classification
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Author: Smith, 1950

Field Marks:
A broad-banded, stoutbodied catshark with greatly expanded anterior nasal flaps that reach mouth and cover broad nasoral grooves, dorsolateral gill slits, colour uniform brown.

Diagnostic Features:
First dorsal origin over pelvic insertions. Colour uniform brown with saddle marks obsolete or absent.

Geographical Distribution:
Western Indian Ocean: South Africa (southern Cape Province to southern Natal).

Habitat and Biology:
A common temperate-water shark found close inshore on the continental shelf, often in shallow, rocky areas. In the southeastern Cape region of South Africa this species is sympatric with H. edwardsii, but there apparently is at least partial microhabitat separation between the two. The brown shyshark is an inshore species in the southeastern Cape, while H. edwardsii, the puffadder shyshark, occurs in deeper water offshore. The term 'shyshark' for this and other members of the genus Haploblepharus refers to their habit of curling up with their tails over their eyes when captured. Oviparous. Eats lobsters and bony fishes. Readily kept in captivity.

Maximum 73 cm; adolescent male 53 cm, adult males 63 to 69 cm, adolescent female 59 cm, adult females 60 to 73 cm.

Interest to Fisheries:
None at present, caught by sports anglers with rod and reel but apparently little-utilized.

Type material:
Holotype: J.L.B. Smith Institute of Ichthyology, Rhodes University, RUSI 21, 570 mm adult male. Type Locality: East London, South Africa.

Brown shyshark (Haploblepharus fuscus)