A new microendemic species of the deep-water catshark genus Bythaelurus from the Indian Ocean

Published on 12. December 2018

A new microendemic species of the deep-water catshark genus Bythaelurus (Carcharhiniformes, Pentanchidae) from the northwestern Indian Ocean, with investigations of its feeding ecology, generic review and identification key

Simon Weigmann, Carina Julia Kaschner, Ralf Thiel


A new deep-water catshark, Bythaelurus stewarti, is described based on 121 examined specimens caught on the Error Seamount (Mount Error Guyot) in the northwestern Indian Ocean. The new species differs from all congeners in the restricted distribution, a higher spiral valve turn count and in the morphology of the dermal denticles. It is distinguished from its morphologically and geographically closest congener, B. hispidus (Alcock), by the larger size (maximum size 44 vs. 39 cm TL, maturity size of males 35–39 vs. 21–28 cm TL), darker fresh coloration and dark grayish-brown mottling of the ventral head (vs. ventral head typically uniformly yellowish or whitish). Furthermore, it has a strongly different morphology of dermal denticles, in particular smaller and less elongate branchial, trunk and lateral caudal denticles that are set much less densely and have a surface that is very strongly and fully structured by reticulations (vs. structured by reticulations only in basal fourth). In addition, the new species differs from B. hispidus in having more slender claspers that are gradually narrowing to the bluntly pointed tip without knob-like apex (vs. claspers broader and with distinct knob-like apex), more spiral valve turns (11–12 vs. 8–10) and numerous statistical differences in morphometrics. A review of and a key to the species of Bythaelurus are given.

PLoS ONE 13(12): e0207887.



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