IUCN threat status:

Data Deficient (DD)

Comprehensive Description

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Parmaturus albipenissp. nov.

Figs 4 and 5, Tables 1-3

White-clasper Catshark (English), holbiche à sexe blanc (French)

Halaelurus ZBK sp.: Grandperrin et al., 1995: table 3, p. 35 and table 4, p. 42 (listed)

Material. 1 specimen.

New Caledonia . HALICAL 1, stn 15, 18°54’S , 163°05’E (Grand Passage), 688-732 m depth, longline, R.V. “ Alis ”, 21 November 1994 , adult male 415 mm TL ( MNHN 1997-3583: holotype ).

Diagnosis. A scyliorhinid catshark with the following combination of characters: soft body; velvety skin with small, tricuspidate denticles; claspers whitish, contrasting with a brownish body coloration; caudal crests present but denticles not enlarged, crests extending almost to second dorsal and anal-fin insertions; teeth tri- or quadricuspidate, in about 130 rows in upper jaw; first dorsal fin slightly in front middle of back, pre-first dorsal length 46.2% TL, origin slightly in front of pelvic-fin origin; pelvic-fin origin slightly in front of midbody, pre-pelvic length 47.1% TL; vent slightly behind mid-body, pre-vent length 52.0% TL; snout short, prenarial length 4.3% TL; mouth short, mouth length 3.1% TL; labial furrows very short, confined to mouth corners; head shorter than abdomen, head length 19.8% TL, pectoral-pelvic length 24.2% TL; dorsal fins large, subequal in size, anterior margins about 11.3% TL, first dorsal more erect than second; subterminal caudal lobe well developed, subterminal margin length 5.7% TL, terminal margin length 5.1% TL; monospondylous centra 39; precaudal centra 79.

Description. Scyliorhinid catshark with flabby, soft body, trunk slightly depressed, tail compressed and tapering to caudal fin, head moderately depressed, height 8.6% TL, head shorter than abdomen, pectoral to pelvic space 24.2% TL, 1.2 in abdomen length; pelvic to anal space short, 1.9 as long as anal-fin base; caudal peduncle high and compressed (width 1.7 in height) but strongly reduced (long upper and lower caudal lobes extending anteriorly almost to insertions of dorsal and anal fins as low convex ridges), anal to caudal space 4.2% anal-fin base length. Snout short and rounded-parabolic in dorsoventral view, tip broadly rounded, narrowly rounded in lateral view; preoral length 5.9% TL, 1.7 times mouth width; prenarial snout 1.1 times eye length. Eyes of moderate size, length 3.8% TL, 5.2 times in head length; eyes strongly dorsolateral on head, with well-developed subocular ridges. Mouth large, short and very broad; broadly arched, width 9.9% TL, 1.7 times its length; labial furrows very short, confined to mouth corner, lower furrows somewhat longer than upper furrows, 0.9% TL. Nostrils large with tube or slit-like incurrent apertures (somewhat asymmetric in holotype); anterior nasal flap more or less subtriangular with posterior tip forming a distinct, laterally extended lobe; nostrils well separated, internarial length 2.8% TL, falling short to mouth.

Teeth of upper jaw not exposed when mouth closed; teeth very small, mainly tricuspidate near symphysis, tri- or quadricuspidate laterally; typically with a pointed central cusp flanked with two/one slightly smaller lateral cusps; in about 130 rows in upper jaw; teeth in quincunx arrangement but cusps of almost equal size give an oblique appearance to the rows, mainly on lateral jaws. Dermal denticles on side small, densely imbricate and semi-erect; crown shield-like, tricuspidate, top of crown flattened, median cusp sometimes marked by a short, low ridge. Caudal crest present, denticles not enlarged, similar in size to those of adjacent tail; in about 12-14 rows along dorsal midline of caudal peduncle; in about 8-10 rows along ventral midline of caudal peduncle; denticles directed posteriorly on middle of crest, more posterolaterally near edges of crest; central cusp of crest denticles barely longer than lateral cusps rather than much longer typical of flank denticles, merging with normal caudal denticles on fin.

Dorsal fins rather large, subequal in size; anterior margin length of both dorsal fins 11.3% TL; first dorsal fin more erect and less elongate than second dorsal fin, its origin slightly in front of anal fin origin; second dorsal originating slightly forward of middle of anal-fin base; anterior margins of both dorsal fins weakly convex, apices rounded; posterior margin of first dorsal fin weakly convex, directed anterodorsally; posterior margin of second dorsal fin almost truncate, orientation almost vertical; rear corners of both fins rounded, almost forming a right angle. Pectoral fins of moderate size, rounded, lobate, anterior margin 11.1% TL; anterior margin more convex than posterior margin; apex and rear corner rounded. Pelvic fins moderately small, semi-oval, apex broadly rounded, length 10.8% TL. Anal fin deeply subtriangular, larger than second dorsal fin, base 9.4% TL, 1.2 in interdorsal space; origin slightly behind level of middle of interdorsal space; anal-fin height 1.6 in base length. Caudal fin long, dorsal caudal margin length 26.8% TL; upper and lower lobes originating as caudal crests near insertions of second dorsal and anal fins respectively; lower lobe moderately well developed; terminal caudal lobe deep, fan-like, with truncate posterior margin, its subterminal margin 5.7% TL, terminal margin 5.1% TL. Monospondylous centra 39; precaudal centra 79; total centra 123.

Coloration. (from preserved specimen). Body plain brownish; back and fins slightly darker, abdomen paler. Floor and roof of mouth whitish. Claspers and pelvic insertion white, contrasting with the darker coloration of the body.

Size. Known only from the holotype, an adult male 415 mm TL.

Distribution. Type from the slope off northern New Caledonia (Grand Passage) at 688-732 m depth (Fig. 1).

Etymology. From the Latin “albus” (white) and “penis” (copulatory organ) in reference to its white claspers which contrast strongly with its dark brownish body coloration.

Comparisons. Parmaturus albipenis can be distinguished from its congeners by the following: Parmaturus albimarginatus differs from P. albipenis by: well-developed crests of enlarged denticles on caudal margins (crests without enlarged denticles in P. albipenis ); lower number of tooth rows in upper jaw (92 versus about 130); and a smaller subterminal lobe (length 3.3% TL versus 5.7% TL).

Parmaturus melanobranchus differs from P. albipenis by: well-developed crests of enlarged denticles on caudal margins (crests without enlarged denticles); shorter pre-pelvic length (39% TL versus 47% TL); longer mouth (7% TL versus 3.1% TL); head longer than abdomen (rather than shorter); and a dark brown or greyish coloration (brownish).

Parmaturus pilosus ZBK differs from P. albipenis by: well-developed crests of enlarged denticles on caudal margins (crests without enlarged denticles); and teeth with 5-7 cusps (versus 3-4). Parmaturus macmillani ZBK differs from P. albipenis by: well-developed crests of slightly enlarged denticles on caudal margins (crests without enlarged denticles); and teeth with 5-6 cusps (versus 3-4).

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