Not just a
huge collection of
Elasmodiver.com contains images of sharks, skates, rays, and a few
chimaera's from around the world. Elasmodiver began as a simple web
to help divers find the best places to encounter the different
species of sharks and rays that live in shallow water but it has
slowly evolved into a much larger project containing information on
all aspects of shark diving and shark photography.
now more than 10,000 shark pictures and sections on shark
evolution, biology, and conservation. There is a large library of
reviewed shark books, a constantly updated shark taxonomy page, a
monster list of shark links, and deeper in the site there are
numerous articles and stories about shark encounters. Elasmodiver is
now so difficult to check for updates, that new information and
pictures are listed on an Elasmodiver Updates Page that can be
Names: Whitesaddled catshark,
western catshark, white saddled catshark.
Name: Scyliorhinus hesperius.
A small predominantly cream to beige coloured catshark. Eight or
nine squarish dark brown saddles with small lighter spots. Spots may be numerous
or sparse. Much lighter diffuse saddles inbetween (hence common name). Flanks
are slightly lighter than upper dorsal region, with a network of light spots
that may form a honeycomb pattern. Ventral surface pale.
First dorsal originates Behind pelvic fin axis. Second dorsal
much smaller than first. Teeth have 5 cusps; the central cusp being much larger
than the others.
at least 47cm.
Continental slope from 274-457m. Lack
of larger specimens in trawls implies that adults inhabit steep or rough terrain
not suitable for trawl fishing.
Distribution: Western Atlantic.
Mostly Caribbean coast of Central America from Honduras to Colombia.
However, I encountered three whitesaddled catsharks in Guatemala while
accompanying gill netters in Quetzalito near Puerto Barrios. All were fished up
in one gill net from approximately 200m. 1985 two specimens were captured in
South Carolina during an experimental crab fishing survey suggesting that the
range of Scyliorhinus hesperius may be much more widespread than initially
due to paucity of collected specimens.
but almost certainly oviparous.
The whitesaddled catshark's egg cases are probably laid in pairs.
Conservation Status: Listed as 'Data Deficient' by the IUCN.
Rarely encountered and of no interest to fisheries (Compagno, in
prep. b). Springer (1979) suggests that the absence of adults in
trawl catches may indicate that adults occupy habitat unfavourable
The closest relative of the whitesaddled catshark is the chain catshark -
Scyliorhinus retifer. S.retifer has a predominently plain tan body with a
chain-like pattern of dark brown lines.
Other species that occur in the area include the Antilles catshark Galeus antillensis (large
dark blotches on back), Roughtail catshark Galeus arae (similar to
G.antillensis), Longfin sawtail catshark G.cadenati (joined brown
saddles along back), Boa catshark Scyliorhinus boa (dusky saddles fringed
in small dark spots), Blotched catshark S.meadi (joined dusky
saddles along back), Dwarf catshark S.torrei (dark and light saddles
covered in fine white spots) and the Cuban ribbontail catshark Eridacnis
barbouri (a thin bodied shark with a variegated tail). The whitesaddled catshark
also shares some of its range with various abyssal catsharks (apristurus
species) but these are generally dark bodied and live in much deeper water.
Reaction to divers:
inhabits depths beyond the range of recreational scuba divers. If you
encounter this catshark in the wild please email elasmodiver.