Author: (Waite, 1905)
A moderately slender, cylindrical-bodied, relatively narrowheaded catshark with a variegated colour pattern of small to large black spots and obscure dusky saddles on light brown background of sides, back and fins, very long upper labial furrows that reach in front of upper symphysis, a short, bluntly rounded snout, moderately large anterior nasal flaps that do not meet each other at the midline of the snout, no nasoral grooves, equal-sized dorsal fins, origin of first dorsal over or slightly in front of pectoral insertions, and anal fin much smaller than second dorsal and about opposite its base.
Body not tadpole-shaped, moderately slender and cylindrical, tapering slightly to caudal fin; body firm and thick-skinned, with well-calcified dermal denticles; stomach not inflatable; tail moderately short, length from vent to lower caudal origin about 3/5 of snout-vent length. Head slightly depressed, narrowly rounded and not wedge-shaped in lateral view; head short, less than 1/5 of total length in adults; snout short, less than 3/4 of mouth width, thick, and slightly flattened, bluntly pointed in lateral view; snout not expanded laterally, rounded-parabolic and slightly bell-shaped in dorsoventral view; ampullal pores not greatly enlarged on snout; nostrils enlarged, but with incurrent and excurrent apertures only slightly open to exterior; anterior nasal flaps formed as broad triangular lobes with truncated posterior borders, without barbels, well separated from each other and ending slightly anterior to mouth; internarial space about 1.4 times the nostril width; nasoral grooves absent; eyes dorsolateral on head, narrow subocular ridges present below eyes; mouth angular or semiangular, moderately long, with lower symphysis somewhat behind upper so that upper teeth are well-exposed in ventral view; labial furrows present along both upper and lower jaws, these very long and extending in front of level of upper symphysis of mouth; branchial region not greatly enlarged, distance from spiracles to fifth gill slits about half of head length; gill slits lateral on head. Two dorsal fins present, about equal-sized or with the second slightly larger than the first; origin of first dorsal about over pelvic insertions; origin of second dorsal over the first quarter of the anal base; pectoral fins moderately large, their width slightly greater than mouth width; inner margins of pelvic fins not fused over claspers in adult males; claspers moderately long, fairly thick, and distally pointed or rounded, extending about half of their lengths behind the pelvic fin tips; anal fin small and not greatly elongated, smaller than pelvic and dorsal fins, its base length about equal to second dorsal base; origin of anal far behind pelvic bases, and its insertion separated from lower caudal origin by a space about half as long as the anal base; caudal fin short and broad, less than a fifth of total length in adults. No crests of denticles on the caudal margins. Supraorbital crests present on cranium. Colour dark grey with a variegated colour pattern of dark and white spots, and dark saddles on the sides and dorsal surface.
Confined to Western Australia, Eastern Indian Ocean. Whitley (1940) and McKay (1966) noted that records of this species from Northern Australia and Queensland are erroneous.
Habbitat and Biology:A common inshore catshark of the Western Australian continental shelf, but little-known. Depth to at least 4 m.
Maximum 67 cm; adult males 54 to 62 cm, adult females 67 cm.
Interest to Fisheries:
None at present.
Specimens of this small attractively coloured shark were examined by the writer in the Western Australian Museum.
Holotype: Western Australian Museum, WAM PO 13253-001, 620 mm adult male. Type Locality: Freemantle, Australia.