Skip to main content Skip to main navigation menu Skip to site footer
Published: 2012-03-05

Description of a new species of deepwater catshark, Bythaelurus giddingsi sp. nov., from the Galápagos Islands (Chondrichthyes: Carcharhiniformes: Scyliorhinidae)

Department of Aquatic Biology, California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco, California, 94118-4503,United States
Department of Aquatic Biology, California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco, California, 94118-4503,United States Department of Natural Sciences, Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, California, 94607, United States
Divisiion of Fishes, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., 20560, United States
Hemichordata Ichthyology systematics Scyliorhinidae Bythaelurus new species endemism Galápagos


We describe Bythaelurus giddingsi sp. nov. based on 7 specimens collected using the submersible Johnson Sea-Link fromdeepwater (428–562 m depth) areas of the Galápagos Islands. It is presumed to be endemic to the archipelago. The newspecies differs from its congeners in its coloration, the length of its anal-fin base, and in other morphological characters. The disjunct distribution of species of the widely-distributed Indo-Pacific genus Bythaelurus is discussed.


  1. Alcock, A.W. (1891) Class Pisces. In II—Natural history notes from H. M. Indian marine survey steamer 'Investigator,' Commander R. F. Hoskyn, R.N. commanding. — Series II., No. 1. On the results of deep-sea dredging during the season 1890–91. Annals and Magazine Natural History, (series 6), 16–34, 119–138.

    Bass, A.J., D’Aubrey, J.D. & Kistnasamy, N. (1975) Sharks of the east coast of southern Africa. II. The families Scyliorhinidae and Pseudotriakidae. Investigational Report of the Oceanographic Research Institute, 37, 1–64.

    Chu, Y.-T., C.-W. Meng, C.-W., Hu, A. & Li, S. (1982) Five new species of elasmobranchiate fishes from the deep waters of South China Sea. Oceanologia et Limnologia Sinica, 13, 301–311.

    Compagno, L.J.V. (1984) FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 4, Sharks of the World. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. FAO Fisheries Synopsis No. 125. vol. 4, pt. 2 (Carcharhinoformes). United Nations Development Programme/Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, 251–655.

    Compagno, L.J.V. (1988) Sharks of the order Carcharhiniformes. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 445 pp.

    Compagno, L.J.V. (1999) Checklist of Living Elasmobranchs. In W.C. Hamlett (ed.) Sharks, Skates, and Rays: The Biology of Elasmobranch Fishes. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA, 471–498.

    Compagno, L.J.V. (2005a) Global Checklist of Living Chondrichthyan Fishes. In S.L. Fowler, R.D. Cavanagh, M. Camhi, G.H. Burgess, G.M. Cailliet, S.V. Fordham, C.A. Simpfendorfer & J.A. Musick (eds.) Sharks, Rays and Chimaeras: The Status of the Chondrichthyan Fishes. IUCN/SSC Shark Specialist Group, IUCN, Cambridge, UK, 401–423.

    Compagno, L.J.V. (2005b) Checklist of Living Chondrichthyes. In W.C. Hamlett (ed.) Reproductive Biology and Phylogeny of Chondrichthyes: Sharks, Batoids and Chimaeras. Reproductive Biology and Phylogeny, Vol. 3. Science Publishers, Inc, Enfield, USA, 503–548.

    Compagno, L.J.V., M. Dando, M. & Fowler, S. (2005) Sharks of the World. Princeton University Press, Princeton, USA, 368 pp.

    Compagno, L.J.V, & Didier, D. (2002) Checklist of Living Chondrichthyes Cited in This Volume. In S.L. Fowler, T.M. Reed, & F.A. Dipper (eds.) Elasmobranch Biodiveristy, Conservation and Management. The IUCN Species Survival Commission Proceedings of the International Seminar and Workshop, Sabah, Malaysia, July 1997. Occasional Paper of the IUCN Species Survival Commission No. 25, 245–255.

    Garman, S. (1913) The Plagiostomia (sharks, skates, and rays). Memoires of the Museum of Comparative Zoology of Harvard College, 515 pp.

    Gill, T. (1862) Squalorum Generum Novorum Descriptiones Diagnosticae. Annals of the Lyceum of Natural History of New York, 7, 367–413.

    Günther, A. (1878) Preliminary notices of deep-sea fishes collected during the voyage of H.M.S. 'Challenger.' Annals and Magazine of Natural History (series 5), 17–28, 179–187, 248–251.

    Hearn, A., Klimley, A.P. & Ketchum, J. (2009) Vulnerability of top predators to climate change and adaptation options for their coastal and pelagic ecosystems: sharks case study. In J.R. Hoffman, A. Franseca, & C. Drews (eds.) Cetaceans and Other Marine Biodiversity of the Eastern Tropical Pacific: Options for Adapting to Climate Change. International Whaling Commission Full Document 61–18, Agenda Item 11.1.2, 50–54.

    Kyne, P.M., & Simpfendorfer, C.A. (2007) A collation and summarization of data on deepwater Chondrichthyans: biodiversity, life history, and fisheries. A report prepared by the IUCN SSC Shark Specialist Group for the Marine Conservation Biology Institute, Gland, Switzerland, 137 pp.

    Last, P.R., & Stevens, J.D. (2008) Bythaelurus incanus sp. nov., a new deepwater catshark (Carcharhiniformes: Scyliorhinidae) from northwestern Australia. In P.R. Last, W.T. White, & J.J. Pogonoski (eds.) Descriptions of New Australian Chondrichthyans. CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research Paper no. 022, Hobart, Australia, 123–128.

    Long, D.J. (1994) Historical Biogeography of Sharks from the Northeastern Pacific Ocean. Ph.D. Diss., Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, 371 pp.

    McCosker, J.E. (1997) A letter from the field: A half mile down. Pacific Discovery, 50, 42–45.

    McCosker, J.E., Merlen, G., Long, D.J., Gilmore, R.G. & C. Villon (1997) Deepslope fishes collected during the 1995 eruption of Volcan Fernandina, Galápagos. Noticias de Galápagos, No. 58, 22–26

    McCosker, J.E. & Rosenblatt, R.H. (2010) The fishes of the Galápagos Archipelago: an update. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, Series 4, 61, Supplement II, No. 11, 167–195.

    Nakaya, K. (1975) Taxonomy, comparative anatomy, and phylogeny of Japanese catsharks, Scyliorhinidae. Memoirs of the Faculty of Fisheries, Hokkaido University, 23, 1–94.

    Ruiz, D., Chiriboga, A., & Banks, S. (2011) CDF Checklist of Galápagos Fish - FCD Lista de especies de Peces de Galápagos. In: F. Bungartz, H. Herrera, P. Jaramillo, N. Tirado, G. Jímenez-Uzcategui, D. Ruiz, A. Guézou, & F. Ziemmeck (eds.). Charles Darwin Foundation Galapagos Species Checklist - Lista de Especies de Galápagos de la Fundación Charles Darwin. Charles Darwin Foundation/Fundación Charles Darwin, Puerto Ayora, Galápagos, Ecuador.

    Séret, B. (1987) Halaelurus clevai, sp. n., a new species of catshark (Scylliorhinidae) from off Madagascar, with remarks on the taxonomic status of the genera Halaelurus Gill & Galeus Rafinesque. J.L.B. Smith Institute of Ichthyology Special Publication, 44,1–27.

    Southall, E.J. & Sims, D.W. (2003) Shark skin: a function in feeding. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Supplemental Biology Letters, 270, S47–S49.

    Springer, S. (1966) A review of western Atlantic cat sharks, Sycliorhinidae, with descriptions of a new genus and five new species. Fishery Bulletin, 65,581–624.

    Springer, S. (1971) A new cat shark (Scyliorhinidae) from New Zealand. Records of the Dominion Museum (Wellington), 7, 235– 241.

    Springer, S. (1979) A revision of the catsharks, family Scyliorhinidae. NOAA Technical Report NMFS Circular 422, 152 pp.

    Springer, S. & D'Aubrey, J.D. (1972) Two new scyliorhinid sharks from the east coast of Africa with notes on related species. South African Association for Marine Biological Research. Oceanographic Research Institute Investigational Report, 29, 1–19.

    Springer, V.G. & Garrick, J.A.F. (1964) A survey of vertebral numbers in sharks. Proceedings of the United States National Museum, 116,73–96.

    Woram, J.M. (1989) Galápagos island names. Noticias de Galápagos, no. 48, 22–32.