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Author: Cadenat, 1959

Field Marks:
See diagnostic features and key to species.

Diagnostic Features:
Precaudal tail with base somewhat compressed. Snout long and pointed, preoral length about 7 to 9% of total length; pre- narial snout virtually equal to eye length; eyes lateral on head, subocular ridge virtually obsolete; mouth fairly large and long, broadly arched, its width 7 to 8% of total length; labial furrows moderately long, not confined to mouth corners. Pelvic fins small, low, and angular; interspace between pelvic and anal bases much shorter than anal base; anal fin long, 14 to 17% of total length, much greater than interdorsal space; its origin just behind first dorsal insertion; no subeaudal crest of enlarged denticles on preventral caudal margin. A colour pattern of variegated dark saddle blotches on body and caudal fin, saddles well-defined and outlined with whitish, usually about 11 or less on back and tail; dorsal fins and caudal fin without black tips; mouth lining dark. Monospondylous precaudal centra 32 to 35. Size small to moderate, adults up to about 40 cm.

Geographical Distribution:
Eastern central Atlantic: Southern Morocco to Namibia.

Habitat and Biology:
A tropical deepwater bottom-dwelling shark, on the upper continental slope at 200to 720 m depth.

Maximum about 42 cm, adult males 35 to 39 cm, adult females 41 to 42 cm, size at birth about 12 cm.

Interest to Fisheries:
Limited, caught in bottom trawls and utilized fresh for human consumption and for fishmeal.

Vaillant's (1888) description of his Pristiurus atlanticus from off Cape Spartel, Morocco suggests this species rather than G. melastomus in certain features, including its coloration and narrower internarial space; however, the type locality is somewhat north of the northernmost known occurrence of G. Polli and the holotype of P. atlanticus (a female) is slightly larger (44 cm) than the largest reported G. polli. Garman (1913) synonymized P. atlanticus with G. melastomus, but the validity of this action is questionable pending a reexamination of the type of P. atlanticus, MNHN 84-387.

Type material:
Holotype: In Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris? Paratypes or syntypes, MNHN 1959-44 and 1959-45. Type Locality: Senegal.

African sawtail catshark (Galeus polli)