Apristurus profundorum 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Chondrichthyes Carcharhiniformes Pentanchidae

Scientific Name: Apristurus profundorum (Goode & Bean, 1896)
Common Name(s):
English Deepwater Catshark
French Holbiche Papoila
Spanish Pejegato Abisal
Scylliorhinus profundorum Goode & Bean, 1896
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. profundorum belongs to the spongiceps-group, characterized by: a short, wide snout (prenarial length < 6% TL, 0.36 to 0.94 times in interorbital); 7 to 12 valves in the spiral intestine; upper labial furrows subequal to, or shorter than the lower furrows; a continuous supraorbital sensory canal.

There is some confusion with A. manis which, among other things, is supposed to differ from A. profundorum in having a prominent caudal crest of enlarged denticles. However, Compagno (1984) reported the holotype of A. profundorum also has a noticeable caudal crest. A. profundorum is a relatively slender species with a felt-like or fuzzy texture, whereas A. manis has a stout and strongly tapered body with a prickly texture conferred on it by a sparse covering of erect denticles.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2004
Date Assessed: 2004-04-30
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Huveneers, C. & Duffy, C.
Reviewer(s): Kyne, P.M., Cavanagh, R.D. & Fowler, S.L. (Shark Red List Authority)
Apristurus profundorum is known with certainty only from the holotype, a 51 cm total length (TL) adolescent male caught off Delaware Bay in the Northwest Atlantic at 1,492 m depth. Nominal A. profundorum from off Mauritania is possibly A. manis. Adults probably relatively large compared to congeners given the size at adolescence. Little is known about the species and confusion with A. manis needs to be resolved. Given its recorded depth of capture, it is not likely to be taken in any fisheries. However, there is insufficient information available to assess the species beyond Data Deficient.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is known with certainty only from the holotype, a 51 cm TL adolescent male caught on the continental slope off Delaware Bay, Northwest Atlantic, at 1,492 m depth. Nominal records at 1,300 to 1,600 m depth in the Eastern Atlantic (which are possibly A. manis). Adults probably relatively large compared to congeners given the size at adolescence.
Countries occurrence:
United States
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – northwest
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Known only from the holotype.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Apristurus species are relatively small, sluggish sharks that live on or near the bottom on the upper continental slope. Diet includes crustaceans (penaeid shrimps, euphausiids), squids and small fishes. Where known reproduction is oviparous with one egg per oviduct. 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.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Unknown. 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 currently in place for this species.

Classifications [top]

10. Marine Oceanic -> 10.1. Marine Oceanic - Epipelagic (0-200m)

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
1. Research -> 1.1. Taxonomy
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats

Bibliography [top]

Compagno, L.J.V. 1984. FAO Species Catalogue. Sharks of the World: an annotated and illustrated catalogue of the shark species known to date. Part 2 - Carcharhiniformes. FAO Fisheries Synopsis No. 125, Vol. 4(2). FAO, Rome.

IUCN. 2004. 2004 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Available at: (Accessed: 23 November 2004).

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

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.

Nakaya, K. and Stehmann, M. 1998. A new species of deep-water catshark, Apristurus aphyodes n. sp., from the Eastern North Atlantic (Chondrichthyes: Carcharhiniformes: Scyliorhinidae). Arch. Fish. Mar. Res. 46(1): 77–90.

Citation: Huveneers, C. & Duffy, C. 2004. Apristurus profundorum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2004: e.T44224A10875025. . Downloaded on 26 September 2018.
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