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Characteristics, distribution and ecology
Taxonomische classification
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Author: (Müller and Henle, 1838)

Field Marks:
A broad-headed, stout-bodied catshark with greatly expanded anterior nasal flaps that reach mouth and cover broad nasoral grooves, dorsolateral gill slits, variegated colour pattern with dorsal saddles, dotted with few large white spots and without dark margins.

Diagnostic Features:
First dorsal origin in front of pelvic insertions. Colour pattern with striking dorsal saddles, not bordered with conspicuous darker margins; saddles dotted with sparse light spots, mostly larger than spiracles.

Geographical Distribution:
Eastern South Atlantic: Namibia to South Africa (southwestern Cape Province).

Habitat and Biology:
A common inshore bottom-dwelling shark of temperate waters of the continental shelf, commonest in shallow, sandy areas. Oviparous, with one egg laid per oviduct. Size of egg-cases about 6 cm long by 3 cm wide. In an aquarium an eggcase hatched in about 3.5 months.

Size:
Maximum about 56 cm, adult male 56 cm, adult female 53 cm, size at hatching about 11 cm.

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

Remarks:
According to Bass, D'Aubrey and Kistnasamy (1975a), this species is largely allopatric to H. edwardsii with the boundary between it and H. edwardsii at False Bay, where both occur; and possibly is entirely allopatric to H. fuscus which has not been recorded as far west as False Bay.

Type material:
Holotype: ?. Type Locality: Cape of Good Hope, South Africa.

Dark shyshark (Haploblepharus pictus)