Apristurus pinguis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Chondrichthyes Carcharhiniformes Pentanchidae

Scientific Name: Apristurus pinguis Deng, Xiong & Zhan, 1983
Common Name(s):
English Bulldog 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. pinguis belongs to the spongiceps-group, characterized by: a short, wide snout (prenarial length < 6% 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: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2015-02-18
Assessor(s): Huveneers, C. & Duffy, C.A.J.
Reviewer(s): Kyne, P.M. & Walls, R.H.L.
Contributor(s): Walls, R.H.L. & Kyne, P.M.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Kyne, P.M. & Walls, R.H.L.
The Bulldog Catshark (Apristurus pinguis) is a poorly-known deepwater catshark which reaches 65 cm total length. It has a patchy known distribution in the Indo-West Pacific including the East China Sea, southern Australia, New Zealand and Broken Ridge in the Eastern Indian Ocean. It occurs at depths between 996 and 2,057 m. The majority of this species' range falls outside the reach of deepwater fisheries operating within its geographic range, so it can therefore be assessed as Least Concern.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The Bulldog Catshark is known from the East China Sea (Okinawa Trough), Australian waters including New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, off New Zealand, and the Broken Ridge in the Eastern Indian Ocean (Last and Stevens 2009).
Countries occurrence:
Australia (New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria); Japan; New Zealand
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – eastern; Pacific – northwest; Pacific – southwest
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):1500
Upper depth limit (metres):1020
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The species is apparently rare. Nothing is known of population size, but it can be assumed that it is outside the reach of deepwater fisheries and should therefore not be undergoing any exploitation related declines.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This poorly known deepwater catshark has been found between depths of 996 and 2,057 m (Ebert et al. 2013). It reaches a maximum size of 65 cm total length (TL) with males mature from 57 cm TL and females about 50 cm TL (Last and Stevens 2009). Apristurus species are relatively small sharks that live on or near the bottom. Where known, reproduction is oviparous with one egg per oviduct.

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is not known to be utilized.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This catshark is a potential bycatch of deepwater fisheries operating within its geographic range, although the majority of its depth range is deeper than fishing activities, offering it some refuge from exploitation. Off southern Australia there are large areas closed to trawling at depths >700 m, providing it refuge (Penney et al. 2014).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: In southern Australian waters there are large areas >700 m depth which are closed to trawling, which should protect it from exploitation (Penney et al. 2014). The species may also benefit from occurrence in marine protected areas of Australia's Commonwealth Marine Reserve network.

Classifications [top]

11. Marine Deep Benthic -> 11.1. Marine Deep Benthic - Continental Slope/Bathyl Zone (200-4,000m) -> 11.1.1. Hard Substrate
suitability:Suitable season:resident 
11. Marine Deep Benthic -> 11.1. Marine Deep Benthic - Continental Slope/Bathyl Zone (200-4,000m) -> 11.1.2. Soft Substrate
suitability:Suitable season:resident 

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
  Action Recovery plan:No
  Systematic monitoring scheme:No
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over part of range
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
  Area based regional management plan:No
  Invasive species control or prevention:Not Applicable
In-Place Species Management
  Harvest management plan:No
  Successfully reintroduced or introduced beningly:No
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:No
In-Place Education
  Subject to recent education and awareness programmes:No
  Included in international legislation:No
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:No
5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.4. Unintentional effects: (large scale) [harvest]
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Ebert, D.A., Fowler, S. and Compagno, L. 2013. Sharks of the World. Wild Nature Press, Plymouth.

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2015).

IUCN SSC Shark Specialist Group. Specialist Group website. Available at:

Last, P.R. and Stevens, J.D. 2009. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Second Edition. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood.

Nakaya, K. and Sato, K. 1999. Species grouping within the genus Apristurus (Elasmobranchii: Scyliorhinidae). In: B. Séret and J.-Y. Sire (eds). Proceedings of the 5th Indo-Pacific Fish Conference (Nouméa, 3-8 November 1997). Paris, Society Francaise d’Ichthyologie et Instutue de Recherches pour le Development: 307–320.

Penney, A., Moore, A., Flood, M., Georgeson, L. and Curtotti, R. 2014. Commonwealth Trawl and Scalefish Hook sectors. In: Georgeson, L., Stobutzki, I. and Curtotti, R. (eds), Fishery Status Reports 2013-14, pp. 128-213. Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, Canberra.

Citation: Huveneers, C. & Duffy, C.A.J. 2015. Apristurus pinguis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T44222A70708974. . Downloaded on 24 September 2018.
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