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Brachaelurus waddi:   (click for more)

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  • Squalus (Scyliorhinus) waddii  Blainville, 1816: 121 (variant spelling).
  • Chiloscyllium modestum  Günther, 1871: 654, pl. 54. Holotype: British Museum (Natural History), skin of 52 cm (20.5 in) female.
  • Cheloscyllium furvum  Ramsay, 1880: 97. Name only (nomen nudum), possibly quoted from a personal communication to him by W. Macleay, genus apparently an error for Chiloscyllium Müller and Henle, 1837. According to Ramsay (1880): quot;A new species, closely allied to C. modestum Günth.".
  • Chiloscyllium furvum  Macleay, 1881a: 364 (description); also Macleay, 1881b: 300 (verbatim copy of earlier work). No type material mentioned, type locality "Port Jackson" [= Sydney Harbour].
  • Chiloscyllium fuscum  Parker and Haswell, 1897: 135. No type material, Australia, possible error for C. furvum?
    Other Combinations:  Brachaelurus modestum (Günther, 1871).
    FAO Names
    En - Blind shark, Fr - Requin aveugle des roches, Sp - Tiburón ciego de roca.
    3Alpha Code: OBW     Taxonomic Code: 1070600101
    Scientific Name with Original Description
    Squalus waddi  Bloch and Schneider, 1801, Syst. Ichthyol.: 130. No type material. Australia?? Whitley, 1934, Mem. Queensland Mus. 10(4): 182 considered S. waddi to be the earliest name for this species, but the description could apply also to Chiloscyllium punctatum Müller and Henle, 1838. Bloch and Schneider mention an illustration of S. waddi made by Dr Latham, but unfortunately did not reproduce it in their plates. Whitley (1934) stated: "The type painting was evidently prepared from a spe
    Diagnostic Features
    fieldmarks: A small stout shark with long tapering barbels, nasoral grooves and circumnarial grooves, very large spiracles, a short mouth ahead of the eyes, a median symphysial groove on the chin, no dermal lobes on sides of head, two equal-sized spineless dorsal fins and an anal fin, the first dorsal-fin origin over the pelvic-fin bases, a short precaudal tail and short caudal fin, and colour blackish to light brown above with or without darker saddles, light yellowish on underside, usually with many small white spots.

    Head short and flat in adults, head about 19% of total length, maximum head height about 0.6 times head width; head broadly arched in dorsoventral view; snout very short, prenarial snout about 1.5% and preoral snout about 3.2% of total length; snout bluntly rounded in lateral view, with ventral surface of prenarial snout nearly vertical. Eye small and ovate with length about 1.5% of total length; eyes elevated above level of head. Spiracles horizontally situated and ovate, about opposite rear ends of eyes. Nostrils nearly terminal on snout; nasal barbel without an expanded posterior flap at its midlength. Anal-caudal space virtually obsolete and much less than anal-fin inner margin. Denticles large and rough.  First dorsal fin with origin usually slightly posterior to middle of pelvic-fin bases; apex posterior to insertion; free rear tip bluntly angular or rounded. Dorsal fins about equal-sized, with similar height and base length. Second dorsal-fin apex posterior to insertion; rear tip bluntly angular. Anal-fin origin about under second dorsal-fin insertion or under last fourth of second dorsal-fin base; anal-fin free rear tip extends well behind dorsal caudal-fin origin.  Total vertebral count 140 to 142, precaudal count 88 to 90, monospondylous precaudal count 39 to 40, diplospondylous precaudal count 49 to 50.  Background colour of the dorsal surface dark brown, with scattered white spots on fins and body; adults with faint saddles but without white blotches on anterior webs of dorsal fins; young without black blotches on posterior dorsal-fin webs and along caudal base but with dark saddles with very narrow transverse light lines between them. 
    Geographical Distribution

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    Confined to the western South Pacific off eastern Australia (southern Queensland and New South Wales from Moreton Bay near Brisbane south to Jervis Bay). Records from Western Australia and northern Territory need confirmation.
    Habitat and Biology
    An inshore bottom shark of temperate Australian waters,often close inshore in tidepools that are barely deep enough to cover it and at the surf line but occasionally down to about 73 m and exceptionally to about 137 m. It favours rocky shoreline areas, patches of seaweed and coral reefs. Adults occur in caves and under ledges during the day, while juveniles may be in shallow areas with wave surge in crevices and under ledges.

    A common sluggish shark that is night-active but will take angler's baits during the daytime.
    Development ovoviviparous, with 7 or 8 young in a litter. Said to breed in summer (November in the Sydney area).  Feeds on small reef invertebrates, including crabs, shrimp, cuttlefish, squid and sea anemones, and small fishes; a coralline alga was found in the stomach of one shark.Termed "blind shark" by anglers because it retracts its eyeballs, which causes its thick eyelids to close, when removed from the water. It can apparently live a long time out of water.
    Maximum exceptionally to between 90 and 122 cm, most individuals smaller; an adult male was 62 cm long and an adult female, 66 cm; size at birth 15 to 18 cm.
    Interest to Fisheries
    Taken offshore in bottom trawls but not utilized commercially. Commonly caught by sports anglers with rod-and-reel from shore in rocky areas, off reefs, and in seaweed patches, particularly around Sydney and in southern Queensland. Regarded as a pest by anglers, because it sucks in baited hooks which are hard to remove from its pharynx through its small mouth and strong jaws. It may nip people when provoked. Its flesh is regarded as unpalatable because of an ammoniacal taste that is not readily removed by soaking in seawater.

    Conservation Status : The conservation status of this shark is uncertain.
    Local Names
    Widespread : Brown cat-shark ,  Catshark ,  Cat shark ,  Dusky dogfish .
    Whitley (1934: 182) suggested that Squalus waddi is the earliest name for the Australian "blind shark", which Bloch and Schneider described from an illustration of an Australian shark by Dr John Latham. Although there are problems with this interpretation (see species name above) Whitley's substitution of waddi for modestum (which had universal use prior to Whitley's note) for this species has been widely followed by subsequent authors.
    Threat to humans: A harmless and hardy shark that thrives in aquaria.
    Source of Information
    Sharks of the world An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Volume 2 Bullhead, mackerel and carpet sharks (Heterodontiformes, Lamniformes and Orectolobiformes). Leonard J.V. Compagno 2001.  FAO Species Catalogue for Fishery Purposes. No. 1, Vol. 2. Rome, FAO. 2001. p.269.
    Compagno, 1984
    Dingerkus, 1986
    Fowler, 1941, 1967a
    Grant, 1972, 1982
    Last & Stevens, 1994
    Shiino, 1976
    Stead, 1963
    Waite, 1901
    Whitley, 1940
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