Apristurus parvipinnis

Common Name

Smallfin Catshark

Year Described

Springer and Heemstra, 1979


An elongate, soft-bodied shark with a long snout. A conspicuous oval-shaped series of pores is present on the ventral snout. Labial furrows large and conspicuous. Upper teeth larger than lower, with 3-6 cusps (central one usually largest) and up to several vertical ridges along tooth. Short-trunked: pectoral base to pelvic fin distance is 11-14% TL, or less than twice the inter-dorsal distance. There are two dorsal fins: the second being 2-4 times larger than the first and inserted over the rear half of the anal base. The first dorsal fin is inserted between the pelvic and anal fins. The distance between the dorsal fins is much shorter than snout length. The anal fin base is long but shorter than distance from snout to first gill slit. The pectoral fin is low on the body and is squared-off on the margin. The caudal fin is long with a weak lower lobe. Pelvic fin tips are close to anal fin origin. Denticles overlapping, with three sharp points (central one very long and narrow compared to the lateral ones), a strong central ridge, a rounded anterior margin, and a dense scaly covering.


Uniformly dark brown to black over body and fins.


Maximum size to 51cm.


Deep waters from 636-1,100m.


Tropical western Atlantic: Gulf of Mexico to N. South America, including the Caribbean Sea. Also reported off SE Brazil (Gomes et. al, 2006).


Castro, J.I. 2011. The Sharks of North America. Oxford University Press, 640 pp.

Compagno, L., M. Dando, and S. Fowler. 2005. Sharks of the World. Princeton University Press, 480 pp.

Gomes, U.L., Signori, C.N. & Gadig, O.B.F. 2006. Report on the smallfin catshark Apristurus parvipinnis Springer & Heemstra (Chondrichthyes, Scyliorhinidae) in Western South Atlantic with notes on its taxonomy. Pan-American Journal of Aquatic Sciences, 1(2): 99-103.