The Lizard Catshark is a small catshark found in the Southwestern Atlantic. It looks similar to the Slender Catshark. However, researchers can distinguish it by its white spots and the distance between its fins.
Lizard Catshark Scientific Classification
Adult catsharks can grow to a maximum length of 69.2 cm (2.3 ft). The males are smaller than the females, averaging 58-59 cm (1.9 ft), while the females may reach 69 cm (2.2 ft).
They resemble the slender catshark but differ by their white spots and a greater number of vertebrae. They have 122 vertebrae compared to the 110 of the slender catshark, and the dermal denticles are round instead of pointed. They also have a longer interdorsal distance (20.7-22.3 % vs. 17.2-20.6 %) and a larger space between the pelvic and anal fins (19.2-20.8 % vs. 14.7-19.4 %).
This shark has a long, slender, greyish-brown body with ten characteristic dark saddles positioned at various points. There are four between the dorsal fins with scattered white spotting. The rounded snout is topped by pointed nasal flaps and a wide mouth. The dorsal fins originate behind the pelvic fins, and the tail is slim and elongated.
Where do they live
This species is native to the southwestern Atlantic off the coast of Brazil, inhabiting the upper continental slopes at depths of 250-500 m (820-1,640 ft). They live in deepwater reefs alongside corals, gorgonians, tube sponges, brittle stars, and sharks like the Freckled catshark.
The females are oviparous and lay pairs of egg cases in coral patches. These are greyish-green and have tendrils to help attach them to coral. The hatched newborns measure 9 cm (3.5 in) and mature at around 40 cm (1.3 ft) long.
Like most sharks, they have smooth, streamlined bodies, a strong sense of smell and vision, and sharp teeth to help catch prey.
These sharks have a small population, a limited habitat range, and are highly susceptible to commercial fishing activities. Deep-sea trawlers threaten the coral patches where they lay eggs, and the low temperatures make it difficult for them to regrow quickly.
The IUCN has thus marked this species as “Vulnerable” or “VU” and has advised monitoring trawler activity in the reefs to prevent further damage.