Bigfin Catshark, Apristurus platyrhynchus (Tanaka 1909)

Other Names: Borneo Catshark, Flatnose Catshark, Spatula Catshark, Spatulasnout Catshark

Bigfin Catshark, Apristurus platyrhynchus. Source: Australian National Fish Collection, CSIRO. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

A relatively small greyish-brown deepwater catshark with no conspicuous markings on the fins, and a long flattened snout. The species also has a very long-based anal fin, very small bristle-like teeth, and pectoral fins that almost reach the pelvic fins.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2023, Apristurus platyrhynchus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 23 May 2024,

Bigfin Catshark, Apristurus platyrhynchus (Tanaka 1909)

More Info


Off Raine Island, Queensland, to off Brush Island, New South Wales, and off Geraldton, Western Australia, and the Norfolk Ridge in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species has a patchy distribution in the Indo-West Pacific from Suruga Bay, Japan south to the East China Sea, Taiwan, the Philippines, South China Sea, and Borneo. A small sluggish deepwater shark found on the continental slope and around oceanic ridges.


Abdomen very short, interspace between pectoral and pelvic fins base shorter than 3/5 length of anal fin base; pectoral fin tip reaching beyond midpoint between pectoral and pelvic fins; first dorsal fin smaller in area than second dorsal; posterior end base (axil) of second dorsal clearly before front of anal fin axil; and fin low, very long-based. Claspers without hooks, with posterior margin of exorhipidion forming a free lobe.


Little is known of the biology and ecology of this species. Both sexes mature at around 60 cm TL. Females produce a single egg per oviduct. The egg capsule is very slender, lacks tendrils, and has a conical posterior end. 


The specific name platyrhynchus is from the Greek platys (= broad, wide) and rhynchos (= snout), in reference to the shorter, wider snout compared with that of Apristurus macrorhynchus.

Species Citation

Scyliorhinus platyrhynchus Tanaka 1909, Journal of the College of Science, Imperial University of Tokyo 27(8): 4. Type locality: Misaki, Sagami Province, Japan.


Bray, D.J. 2023


Atlas of Living Australia

Bigfin Catshark, Apristurus platyrhynchus (Tanaka 1909)


Compagno, L.J.V. 1984. FAO Species Catalogue. Sharks of the World. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Carcharhiniformes. FAO Fisheries Synopsis No. 125. Rome : FAO Vol. 4(2) 251-655 pp. 

Compagno, L.J.V. 1988. Sharks of the Order Carcharhiniformes. Princeton, New Jersey : Princeton University Press 572 pp.

Compagno, L.J.V., Dando, M. & Fowler, S. 2005. A Field Guide to the Sharks of the World. London : Collins 368 pp. (p. 198, and p. 203, as Apristurus sp. B)

Duffy, C.A.J. & Huveneers, C. 2015. Apristurus platyrhynchus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T44223A70709037. Downloaded on 06 June 2017

Fowler, H.W. 1941. Contributions to the biology of the Philippine Archipelago and adjacent regions. The fishes of the groups Elasmobranchii, Holocephali, Isospondyli and Ostariophysi obtained by the United States Bureau of Fisheries Steamer Albatross in 1907 to 1910, chiefly in the Philippine Islands and adjacent seas. Bulletin of the United States National Museum 100(13): 1-879 figs 1-30 (as Pentachus platyrhynchus)

Garman, S. 1913. The Plagiostomia (sharks, skates and rays). Memoirs of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University 36: 1-528 pls 1-77 

Kawauchi, J., Sasahara, R., Sato, K. & Nakaya, K. 2008. Occurrence of the deep-water catsharks Apristurus platyrhynchus and Apristurus pinguis in the Indian and Western South Pacific Oceans (Carcharhiniformes: Scyliorhinidae). pp. 75-92 in Last, P.R., White, W.T. & Pogonoski, J.J. (eds). Descriptions of new Australian chondrichthyans. CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research Paper No. 022: 1-358. 

Last, P.R. & Stevens, J.D. 1994. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Canberra : CSIRO Australia 513 pp. 84 pls. (as Apristurus sp. B)

Last, P.R. & Stevens, J.D. 2009. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Collingwood : CSIRO Publishing Australia 2, 550 pp.

Nakaya, K. & Sato, K. 2000. Taxonomic review of Apristurus platyrhynchus and related species from the Pacific Ocean (Chondrichthyes, Carcharhiniformes, Scyliorhinidae). Ichthyological Research 47(3): 223–230. 

Tanaka, S. 1909. Descriptions of one new genus and ten new species of Japanese fishes. Journal of the College of Science, Imperial University of Tokyo 27(8): 1-27

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37015015

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:400-1080 m


Max Size:71 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map