Three females, 640 mm T.L. (Dom. Mus. No. 1732), 705 mm (V.U.W. specimen, Dom. Mus. No. 2642) and 722 mm (V.U.W. specimen, Dom. Mus. No. 2806); four males, 525 mm (V.U.W. specimen, Dom. Mus. No. 2804), 560 mm (V.U.W. specimen, Dom. Mus. No. 2807), 580 mm (V.U.W. specimen, Dom. Mus. No. 2251) and 595 mm (V.U.W. specimen, Dom. Mus. No. 2805). All seven specimens were trawled during the years 1953 to 1958, in July to December, four from Cook Strait in depths of 25 fathoms, 73, 85 and 120 fathoms, the others from Akaroa (75 fathoms), Timaru (64 fathoms) and Otago (depth not known).
Also seven embryos about 100 mm long from the 722 mm female (Dom. Mus. No. 2806), three of these being in the right uterus and four in the left.
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Head depressed anterior to spiracles; trunk compressed and very high, its height at posterior end of 1st dorsal base 1/5 to ¼ of total length. Dorsal profile of trunk markedly arched, ventral profile almost flat. A strong ventrolateral muscle ridge along each side of trunk between pectoral and pelvic fins, so that trunk is subtriangular in section. Dorsal fins large and high; 1st dorsal ⅔ as high as trunk beneath it, and with a long fleshy base reaching from above the gill-openings to about midway between pectorals and pelvics. Length of body measured to cloaca 64.5% to 67.8% of total length. Caudal peduncle compressed and without lateral keels or precaudal pits. Dermal denticles large, strong and erect so that skin is remarkably rough to the touch; they cover whole of body except lips and small areas at axils of fins, and are everywhere wide-spaced, the bases infrequently contiguous, the blades never overlapping. Each denticle of the trunk region with a high, tridentate blade, erect or nearly so slightly constricted basally to form a short, strap–like pedicle, and borne on an irregular, essentially four-angled base. All three teeth of the blade are sharply-pointed, the median tooth much the largest and ⅓ to ½ the length of the blade. Anterior surface of blade with a median, longitudinal ridge extending from base to tip of median tooth; in small denticles (up to about 2.0 mm long) this ridge is narrow, low and simple, but in larger denticles (2.0 mm to 4.0 mm long) it is increasingly higher and wider towards basal end of blade where it may carry up to 6 or 7 minor ridges on its crest. Posterior surface of blade with a narrow median longitudinal keel, sometimes paired at its basal end; in small denticles this keel is shallow and tapers uniformly in depth towards tip of median tooth; in large denticles (more than about 2.0 mm long) the keel is deep and usually has one sharp angular process or tooth near its distal end (occasionally two equal sized teeth, or 1 to 3 small teeth plus a large tooth), so that with the blade teeth these large denticles carry four teeth in all. In the 722 mm female only four-toothed denticles are present (on the back and sides at least) but in the 595 mm male there are many smaller three-toothed denticles amongst the larger fourtoothed forms. The denticle bases are mostly four-angled, with a ridge rising on to the pedicle from each of the angles; however the larger denticles usually have one to four additional minor angles and ridges on their anterior margins which thus vary greatly in outline.
Head measured to 1st gill-opening 6.1 to 7.3 in total length. Head depressed, blunt-snouted, the dorsal profile almost flat from snout tip to level of spiracle but rapidly steepening posteriorly. Least fleshy interorbital distance 2.1 in head. Snout short, thick, bluntly rounded in contour, widening gradually from level of nostrils rearwards. Length of snout measured to eye 3.0 to 3.1 in head and 1.4 in distance from eye to 1st gill–opening. Eye large, oval, more than twice as long as high, and placed obliquely to horizontal axis of head; horizontal diameter
|♂ 104 mm (Embryo)||♂ 525 mm Dom. Mus. No. 2804||♀ 722 mm Dom. Mus. No. 2806|
|Trunk at pectoral origin: Breadth||15.4||13.1||15.3|
|Trunk at insertion (posterior) of 1st dorsal base: Height||14.0||23.2||25.7|
|Snout length in front of: Outer nostrils||3.4||1.9||1.8|
|Eye: Horizontal diameter||7.2||3.3||3.0|
|Nostrils: Breadth between inner corners||2.4||1.1||1.5|
|Preoral clefts: Breadth between inner ends||1.9||1.4||1.7|
|Gill-opening lengths: 1st||—||0.9||1.5|
|1st dorsal fin: Vertical height||9.1||19.9||17.2|
|Vertical height of total spine||7.2||9.0||9.0|
|Length of base from exposed origin of spine||4.8||8.6||10.5|
|2nd dorsal fin: Vertical height||8.7||17.1||12.2|
|Vertical height of total spine||5.8||9.7||8.2|
|Length of base from exposed origin of spine||5.3||6.1||6.5|
|Caudal fin: Upper margin||24.0||24.2||20.0|
|Lower anterior margin||14.4||15.4||12.6|
|Pectoral fin Anterior margin||7.7||17.8||15.9|
|Distance from snout to: Eye||5.8||4.6||4.4|
|Exposed origin of 1st dorsal spine||41.5||34.6||38.0|
|Exposed origin of 2nd dorsal spine||60.0||62.5||67.8|
|1st dorsal base and exposed origin of 2nd dorsal spine||8 .7||18.6||19.2|
|2nd dorsal base and upper caudal||8.2||11.2||8.7|
|Distance from origin to origin of:|
|Pectoral and pelvic||34.0||42.0||48.0|
|Pelvic and subcaudal||12.0||17.5||13.9|
of eye 1.5 in snout and 4.6 to 4.4 in head. Spiracle large, ovoid to subcircular, placed just above level of posterior corner of eye and behind it by a distance slightly more than its own length; length of spiracle 3.0 in horizontal diameter of eye. Gill-openings very small, vertical, concave, and in a horizontal series anterior to pectoral base. Lengths of first four gill-openings either subequal or decreasing rearwards, ¼ to ⅔ the horizontal diameter of eye; 5th gill-opening varying from slightly larger to smaller than preceding gill-openings. Interspaces between gill-openings subequal between 1st and 2nd, and 2nd and 3rd, and larger than that between 3rd and 4th, and 4th and 5th. Nostrils very large, close together, oblique, placed well forward on anterior third of snout so that the lateral nasal aperture faces almost directly frontwards. Interspace between nostrils narrow, 3.2 to 2.6 in preoral length. Lateral and medial nasal apertures round, separated from each other chiefly by the thick fleshy posterior nasal flap; medial aperture more than half covered by the extensive, convex-margined anterior nasal flap which projects rearwards; posterior margin of medial aperture bordered by a low membranous band. Mouth small, almost transverse, with thick, fleshy lips which are complexly pleated longitudinally—i.e., across the lips at right angles to the mouth. Preoral clefts long, reaching more than ⅔ of distance from angles of mouth to upper symphysis, and extended rearwards for an equal or shorter distance by abruptly shallowing furrows.
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Teeth 14/5-1-5 in a 525 mm male, 17/5-1-5 in a 560 mm male, dissimilar in upper and lower jaws. Upper teeth narrow, erect and of uniform size except for the last few series on each.
side where the teeth are oblique and diminish in size. In the central sector of mouth there are ten or eleven series of teeth with four or five rows or parts of rows functional; these occupy a slightly arched quadrangular area about twice as wide as long. The lateral two or three series of oblique teeth comprise about three rows which trail rearwards as a narrow band from each side of the quadrangular area, being placed on the medial face of the upper jaw where they cannot be seen without dissection. Each upper tooth from central sector of mouth.
Text-fig. 6—Oxynotus bruniensis. Fig. A—595 mm male, New Zealand, lateral view and insets of transverse sections of snout and peduncle. Figs. B-C—Dorsal and ventral views of head of same. Fig. D—1st dorsal fin of 525 mm male, New Zealand. Fig. E—1st dorsal fin of 722 mm female, New Zealand . Fig. F—Right nostril of 595 mm male. Figs. G-H—104 mm embryo (one of seven from 722 mm, New Zealand female), ventral view of head, and lateral view. N.B.—External gill filaments, up to 18 mm long, are omitted in. Fig.H and shown only on the left side in. Fig.G; the yolk-sac, 70 mm × 60 mm, is also omitted in both figures of the embryo. C = level of cloaca. YS = stalk of yolk-sac.
with a long, sharply-pointed, lanceolate cusp, its edges irregularly and finely serrate, borne on a bifid base. The cusp stands well clear of the base on a rather narrow pedicle which proximally is irregularly striated longitudinally. The bases of adjacent teeth are placed close together or touching but do not overlap each other. Lower teeth with only one row functional, broad, blade-like, erect and symmetrical at the centre of the jaw where there is a median tooth, but slightly oblique towards the angles. Each tooth with a high rectangular base and a triangular cusp; the margins of the cusp are irregularly and finely serrate. Bases of adjacent lower teeth overlapping laterally.
1st dorsal fin subtriangular, large, very high, its height about twice the length of its base measured from origin of exposed spine, and greater than length of head. Origin of 1st dorsal obscure; anterior margin steep in front of spine but steepning even more behind spine where it is increasingly convex towards the apex; apex pointed, less than a right angle; distal margin at first concave from apex downwards but becoming convex halfway along its length; posterior margin short, less than horizontal diameter of eye; posterior free corner right-angled or acute. 1st dorsal spine sloping forward, largely concealed, its short exposed tip above or behind posterior tip of pectoral when latter is adpressed to side; total length of 1st dorsal spine just less than or equal to distance from its tip to apex of 1st dorsal fin. 2nd dorsal similar to 1st but smaller, its height 1.3 to 1.5 in height of 1st dorsal, its base measured from origin of exposed spine 2.0 in base of 1st similarly measured. Origin of 2nd dorsal fairly well defined, almost an eye-length in front of pelvic origin; length of complete base of 2nd dorsal equal to interspace between 1st and 2nd dorsals. Anterior margin of 2nd dorsal behind exposed tip of spine less steep than that of 1st; distal margin more nearly straight. 2nd dorsal spine sloping rearwards, largely concealed, its exposed tip above or just in front of posterior insertion of pelvic base; total length of 2nd dorsal spine equal to distance from its tip to apex of 2nd dorsal fin. Caudal deep and short, its length measured from hypural origin 4.0 to 4.8 in total length; epiural lobe moderately developed, its height about 4.0 in length of its anterior margin and 1.5 in height of hypural, its anterior margin slightly convex; terminal margin straight to convex, long, its length about the length of epiural; subterminal notch shallow and obtuse, but distinct; origin of hypural well anterior to epiural; lower anterior margin of hypural convex, apex a bluntly rounded right-angle, posterior hypural margin straight, convex or slightly sinuous. Pectorals leaf-shaped, about as long as head but narrow, their greatest breadth (near base) approximating half their length; anterior margin straight proximally, becoming convex towards the anterior (outer) corner which is sharply rounded and acute; distal margin almost straight, more than ⅔ as long as anterior margin; posterior margin very short, posterior inner corner very broadly rounded and obtuse. Pelvics small, constricted at base; anterior, distal and posterior margins very slightly convex, anterior and posterior corners bluntly rounded; length of anterior margin about ¼ longer than distal margin, and ⅔ as long as anterior pectoral margin. Claspers in 595 mm male ovoid in section, rapidly tapering to their tips, which reach as far back as hypural origin; for ⅔ of their length they are joined to their respective posterior pelvic margin; subterminally each carries a strong lateral spur.
Colour: Uniform greyish-brown, but with white or translucent areas at tips of dorsal fins and claspers, along distal margins of pectorals and pelvic fins and at apex of hypural lobe of caudal; there is also in most specimens a light-coloured patch on the ventral surface beneath the gill-openings; lips pinkish-white.
Dalatias licha (Bonnaterre, 1788). Text-fig. 7, A-B; Text-fig. 8, A-H.
The Black Shark was first reported from New Zealand by Parker (1883, p. 222) who identified it as the Mediterranean Scymnus lichia, now recognised as Dalatias licha and known from the Atlantic and Pacific, both north and south, as well as the Mediterranean. Whitley (1931, p. 310) proposes the new name Scymnorhinus phillippsi for the Australasian species without indicating why it is specifically distinct except for the statement that “as McCulloch hinted (it) is obviously not conspecific with the French Squalus lichia.” McCulloch (1914, p. 81) identified specimens from the Great Australian Bight as S. licha though he says: “In using that name.
I do so only because the descriptions of the Mediterranean species are so incomplete that, in the absence of typical specimens to compare with, it is impossible to determine whether they are specifically identical or distinct.” Phillipps (1946, p. 19) accepts Whitley's name and regards D. phillippsi as distinct from D. licha in having the mouth placed further back, differently placed fins, a shorter caudal fin, as well as in various other characters.
In the present study, a comparison of several New Zealand specimens of Black Shark with the excellent descriptions of Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean examples in Bigelow & Schroeder (1948, p. 503) shows no significant differences either in proportional dimensions and external morphology, or in details of the teeth and dermal denticles. The same can be said if comparison is made with McCulloch's (1914) account, although McCulloch illustrates (Fig. 1) the anterior nasal flaps as more or less quadrate in outline, while those of my specimens and Atlantic specimens are more nearly triangular. I do not regard this difference as important for the anterior nasal flaps, being rather delicate membranous structures, are liable to deformation with preservation, and hence decision as to their exact shape is often subjective. The difference in fin positions and the shorter caudal fin suggested by Phillips (1946, p. 19) as separating D. phillippsi from D. licha could be attributed to change with growth, but as Phillips does not give the lengths of his specimens this cannot be established. However, in all the features given by Phillipps for D. phillippsi and D. licha, my specimens agree with D. licha. The New Zealand Black Shark is therefore to be regarded as conspecific with the Mediterranean and Atlantic species.
Previous records of D. licha from New Zealand suggest that it is rarely encountered, for although Parker reported it from off Otago in 1883, the next records of it were not until 1914 (Waite) and 1928 (Philipps) from Cook Strait. However, it is now known to be relatively common in Cook Strait not only in depths of 20 to 80 fathoms, where it is occasionally taken by commercial trawlers, and 60 to 180 fathoms, where it is caught by commercial line-fishermen, but also as deep as 480 fathoms. The latter record is of a specimen recently long-lined during experimental fishing off Kaikoura by Mr. R. Baxter. Its capture at this depth considerably extends the vertical range of the species, for elsewhere it has been reported only as deep as 328 fathoms (Bigelow & Schroeder, 1957, p. 114). The Kaikoura record cannot be regarded as an isolated or exceptional capture in that previously Mr. Baxter has taken D. licha in 420 and 450 fathoms in the same locality where it appears to be about as abundant in these depths as it is in shallower water. D. licha also has a wider latitudinal range in New Zealand waters than was formerly known—i.e., Otago and Cook Strait, for specimens have now been taken in Hawke Bay, in Poverty Bay and off East Cape along the east coast of the North Island, and as far north as Foxton on the west coast.
Dalatias licha (Bonnaterre, 1788)
Scymnus lichia (Bonnaterre), Parker, 1883.
Scymnorhinus phillippsi Whitley, 1931.