Apristurus aphyodes


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Apristurus aphyodes
Species Authority: Nakaya & Stehmann, 1998
Common Name(s):
English White Ghost Catshark
Taxonomic Notes: The genus Apristurus contains at least 32 described species and a relatively large number of potentially undescribed ones. Morphological conservatism and, until recently, a lack of objectively defined characters makes this one of the most taxonomically confused shark genera (Compagno 1984, Nakaya and Sato 1999).

Nakaya and Sato (1999) defined three species-groups within Apristurus: the longicephalus-group (two species), brunneus-group (20 species), and spongiceps-group (10 species). A. aphyodes belongs to the spongiceps-group, characterized by: a short, wide snout (prenarial length < 6% total length(TL)); 7 to 12 valves in the spiral intestine; upper labial furrows subequal to, or shorter than the lower furrows; a continuous supraorbital sensory canal.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2004
Date Assessed: 2004-04-30
Assessor(s): Duffy, C. & Huveneers, C.
Reviewer(s): Kyne, P.M., Cavanagh, R.D. & Fowler, S.L. (Shark Red List Authority)
A deepwater catshark known from the Eastern North Atlantic from depths of 1,014 to 1,800 m. Known from only a limited number of specimens. Reaches a maximum of 54 cm total length (TL) but little known of its biology. Insufficient information is available to assess the species beyond Data Deficient.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The species is found in the eastern North Atlantic: Northern Bay of Biscay and Porcupine Seabight to Lousy Bank (49° 31.9’N to 60°49.7’N).
Denmark; France; Ireland; Spain; United Kingdom
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – northeast
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Population size and trends are not known.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Known from 30 type specimens taken on the eastern North Atlantic slope at 1,014 to 1,800 m depth. Occurs at bottom temperatures of 3.67 to 9.57°C, and salinities of 35.13 to 34.87 ppm. Males and females are adolescent at 40 to 46 cm TL, and fully mature at 47 to 50 cm TL. Maximum reported size is 54 cm TL. Reproduction is oviparous but egg cases are unknown (Nakaya and Stehmann 1998).

Apristurus species are relatively small, sluggish sharks that live on or near the bottom over upper to mid continental and insular slopes. Diet includes crustaceans (penaeid shrimps, euphausiids), squids and small fishes. Where known, egg cases are usually thick-walled and about 5 to 6.8 cm long and 2.5 to 2.9 cm wide. The anterior end of the case has a long weak fibrous thread on each corner. The posterior end usually has two small processes, each with a long coiled tendril. As in shallow water scyliorhinids the coiled tendrils are probably used to attach the egg cases to hard substrates and/or biogenic structures as they are laid.
Systems: Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Other species of deepwater Chondrichthyans are known to be captured as bycatch in deepwater fisheries. As these fisheries expand globally, consideration needs to be given to the fact that this species too may be captured incidentally in deepwater fisheries.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: No conservation measures are known to be in place for this species.

Citation: Duffy, C. & Huveneers, C. 2004. Apristurus aphyodes. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 30 May 2015.
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