Familia Scyliorhinidae


by J.-C. Quero

Small sharks (in Clofnam area maximum length about 1.6 m). Head of normal shape; nostrils not connected to the mouth by grooves, or if so connected, then no barbels extending from their anterior margins; eyes, without nictitating membrane, longer than high; eye with or without a longitudinal fold of skin below lower eyelid; teeth, small, numerous, multicuspid in Clofnam species, with several rows functional, not greatly different in shape in upper and lower jaws; spiracles present; five gill-slits, fourth and fifth over the pectoral fin base. Two dorsal fins (one species outside area with only one) without spines, the first much shorter than the caudal, the posterior end of its base posterior to origin of pelvic fins; pectoral fin not falcate; anal fin present; caudal fin asymmetrical. No keels or pits on caudal peduncle.
Benthic on soft or rough, even rocky, grounds in shallow or deep tropical and temperate marine waters. The centres of abundance of different species are the western Pacific, Australasian area and Indian Ocean to South Africa. Feeding on demersal or midwater fishes, crustaceans and molluscs. Oviparous so far as known. With 87 described species this is the largest shark family.

Genera 16; in Clofnam area 3.

Recent revisions: Springer (1979), Compagno (1981 and in press).