Chordates •

Blind shark

(Brachaelurus waddi)



The blind shark has a stocky body and a wide,somewhat flattened head with a blunt snout.The small,oval eyes are situated high on the head and have strong ridges underneath;the oval spiracles are positioned behind and below and have obvious raised rims.The nostrils are placed almost at the tip of the snout and have long,tapering barbels in front and well-developed skin flaps and grooves around the incurrent openings.A pair of obvious grooves connect the nostrils to the small,almost transverse mouth.There are 32–34 upper tooth rows and 21–29 lower tooth rows;each tooth has an upright,awl-shaped central cusp and a pair of lateral cusplets.The five pairs of gill slits are small,with the fifth pair close to the fourth.The pectoral fins are large and broad,with rounded margins.The two dorsal fins are roughly equal in size and have rounded apices and angular free rear tips;the first dorsal fin originates over the bases of the pelvic fins.The pelvic fins are rounded and almost as large as the pectoral fins.The anal fin is less than half the size of the dorsal fins and is positioned very close to the base of the long,low caudal fin.The caudal fin comprises about a quarter of the total length,with no ventral lobe and a strong ventral notch near the tip of the upper lobe.The dermal denticles are large,giving the skin a rough texture.This species is light to dark brown above,often with white flecks,and lighter below.Juveniles also have dark bands over the body and tail,which fade with age.The blind shark can reach a length of 0.9–1.2 m (3.0–3.9 ft),though most are much smaller.

Taxonomic tree:

Kingdom: Animalia
Class: Elasmobranchii
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