Journal of Threatened Taxa | | 26 November 2017 | 9(11): 10899–10903





A first record of the Smallfin Gulper Shark Centrophorus moluccensis Bleeker, 1860 (Chondrichthyes: Squaliformes: Centrophoridae) from the Andaman & Nicobar waters, Indian EEZ



H.D. Pradeep 1, Swapnil S. Shirke 2, M. Nashad 3 & Monalisha Devi Sukham 4

1 Fishery Survey of India, Mormugao Zonal Base, Opp. Microwave Station, Bogda Road, Mormugao, Goa 403803, India

2,3 Fishery Survey of India, Port Blair Zonal Base, Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands 744101, India

4 Fisheries Resource Management Division, Central Island Agriculture Research Institute, ICAR, Port Blair-744105, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India

1 (corresponding author), 2, 3, 4







doi: | ZooBank:


Editor: E. Vivekanandan, Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Chennai, India. Date of publication: 26 November 2017 (online & print)


Manuscript details: Ms # 3315 | Received 02 February 2017 | Final received 08 November 2017 | Finally accepted 12 November 2017


Citation: Pradeep, H.D., S.S. Shirke, M. Nashad & M.D. Sukham (2017). A first record of the Smallfin Gulper Shark Centrophorus moluccensis Bleeker, 1860 (Chondrichthyes: Squaliformes: Centrophoridae) from the Andaman & Nicobar waters, Indian EEZ. Journal of Threatened Taxa 9(11): 10899–10903;


Copyright: © Pradeep et al. 2017. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. JoTT allows unrestricted use of this article in any medium, reproduction and distribution by providing adequate credit to the authors and the source of publication.


Funding: None.


Competing interests: The authors declare no competing interests.


Acknowledgements: The authors are thankful to the Director General, Fishery Survey of India, Mumbai for his encouragement during the study period. They also express their sincere thanks to Shri. Ilairaja, fisherman of Burmanallah, South Andaman District for his kind help in sampling. Further, the authors are thankful to the anonymous reviewers of the manuscript.






Abstract: The Smallfin Gulper Shark Centrophorus moluccensis is reported for the first time from the Andaman & Nicobar waters of the Indian EEZ. A male specimen of 785mm total length and weighing 2.34kg was landed by a motorized longliner at Burmanallah, South Andaman District. The specimen was caught off Chidiyatapu, South Andaman at a depth of 250m. A detailed morphological description of the specimen and comparison with previous literature is provided.

Keywords: Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Centrophoridae, Dogfish Shark, longline, new report, squalene.

Abbreviations: HL - head length; PCL - pre-caudal length; TL - total length







Gulper sharks Centrophorus spp. are commercially exploited for food and high squalene content in their livers (Compagno 1984; Gordon 1999; Daley et al. 2002). They generally occur on upper continental and insular slopes between 200–2400 m depth (Compagno 1984; Last & Stevens 1994; Andrew et al. 1997; Graham et al. 2001; Compagno et al. 2005). Despite their importance as commercial target and by-catch species in a number of countries, poor sampling and taxonomic confusion has made identification of Centrophorus spp. often problematic (Compagno 1984; Muñoz-Chápuli & Ramos 1989; Compagno et al. 1989, 2005). Seven Centrophorus species are reported to occur in Indian waters: Centrophorus granulosus (Bloch & Schneider 1801); C. uyato Rafinesque 1810; C. moluccensis Bleeker 1860; C. lusitanicus Bocage & Capello 1864; C. acus Garman 1906; C. squamosus Bonnaterre 1788 and C. atromarginatus Garman 1913 (Nair & Mohan 1970; Appukuttan & Nair 1988; Raje et al. 2002; Venu & Kurup 2002; Soundararajan & Roy 2004; Titto D’Cruz 2004; Jayaprakash et al. 2006; Raje et al. 2007; CMFRI 2007; Joshi et al. 2008; Vivekanandan & Sivaraj 2008).

The global distribution of the Smallfin Gulper Shark is uncertain due to taxonomic issues. It has been reported from sporadic locations through the western Indian Ocean: India, South Africa, and southern Mozambique. The most abundant distribution was noted in the Indo-West Pacific region, including eastern and western Australia, New Caledonia, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Japan (Compagno 1984; Talwar & Jhingran 1991; Last & Stevens 2009; Ahmad & Lim 2012). From Indian waters, it is reported from the southwestern coast and Gulf of Mannar (Silas 1969; Hamsa et al. 1991) but detailed morphometric description of the species is lacking. From Andaman & Nicobar waters till today only two squaliform dog fishes, Centrophorus acus and Squalus megalops are reported (Soundararajan & Roy 2004). The present study reports the occurrence of C. moluccensis from the Andaman & Nicobar waters of the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) for the first time, along with its morphometric details.

Materials and Methods

The sample was collected from the landing centre at Burmanallah, South Andaman District (Fig. 1) on 23 July 2016, landed by a motorized fishing boat. The specimen was captured by longline gear at a depth of 250m off Chidiyatapu, South Andaman District. A single male specimen of Centrophorus moluccensis Bleeker, 1860 was landed along with other species of Squalidae, which are exclusively fished for squalene content in their liver in these Islands. The specimen was identified following Compagno & Niem (1998), photographed and morphometric data were recorded. Morphometric measurements of the fresh specimen were taken following Compagno (1984) with a few modifications. The photos of the scales were taken by Olympus CX 41 trinocular microscope with 10x magnification. All proportional measurements are expressed as percentage of total length (TL) along with original data. The specimen is deposited in the museum of Zonal Base of Fishery Survey of India, Port Blair (Referral No. MUS.FSI.PB/EB/07/2016).








Order: Squaliformes Compagno, 1973

Family: Centrophoridae Bleeker, 1859

Genus: Centrophorus Müller & Henle, 1837 

Centrophorus moluccensis Bleeker, 1860

(Image 1)

Specimen Examined: C. moluccensis Bleeker, 1860: Male (adult), 785mm total length (TL), 2.34kg total weight.

Diagnosis: Body elongated and slightly compressed; snout pointed, teeth in the two jaws markedly different, small and with a single cusp, lower teeth much larger than upper (Image 2). Two dorsal fins; origin of first dorsal fin close behind pectoral fin bases; each dorsal fin with a spine on its anterior margin. Second dorsal fin very small, ½ height of first dorsal fin or less, with spine origin usually well posterior to pelvic fin rear tips. Caudal fin with sub terminal notch. Caudal peduncle without dermal keels and precaudal pits. Dermal denticles of back widely separated and not overlapping, low-crowned, broad with low ridges running the length of the crown and a short cusp on their posterior edges (Image 3). PCL: 74.62 % of TL; HL: 17.44% of TL; second dorsal fin height is only 49.5 % of first dorsal fin height.

Detailed morphometric measurements of the present specimen in comparison with C. moluccensis, one specimen: AMS E.5211, holotype of C. scalpratus Mc Culloch, female, 870mm TL, collected from the Victorian coast, Australia (Duffy 2007) are given in Table 1.

Colour: Grey-brown above, lighter below and fins slightly darker.






Dogfish sharks often occur in shoals and are caught by trawlers at great depths. In the western Pacific region, squalids are caught in line fisheries for their squalene-rich liver. Among the squalids, C. moluccensis (Centrophorus scalpratus Mc Culloch and Atractophorus armatus Gilchrist) are very common in South Africa and Mozambique waters (Hamsa et al. 1991). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species lists the status of C. moluccensis as “Data Deficient” (Graham & Kyne 2013) and the status of its eastern Australian subpopulation is “Near Threatened” (Graham 2013).

The diversity of the elasmobranch in the Indian EEZ needs to be studied in detail. Silas (1969) recorded the occurrence of C. moluccensis in the trawl catches from the upper continental slope off the southwest coast of India at depths of 180–450 m. A rare case of landings of C. moluccensis occurred in Veerapandipatnam, Gulf of Mannar at a depth of 200m (Hamsa et al. 1991).

Identification of Centrophorus spp. can be difficult owing to taxonomic confusion; however the specimen examined herein agrees well with type material of C. moluccensis (Duffy 2007). The morphometric details of the present study shows maximum standard deviation value of 4.6 in the case of pre-caudal length and 2.4 in head length with the type specimen. Akhilesh et al. (2014) mentioned that the taxonomic problems with regard to Squaliformes needs to be resolved, which could lead to a greater known diversity in Indian seas and out of 24 squaliform shark species listed from India, 54% have uncertain taxonomic status. Further, it was also mentioned that the report of C. moluccensis in Indian waters needs confirmation. Bineesh et al. (2016) analysed the species composition of sharks and rays in the Indian commercial fishery using DNA barcoding and 11 elasmobranch species were confirmed as first records for Indian waters. Among the 11 species, five belonged to Centrophoridae, however, C. moluccensis was not sequenced and confirmed by DNA barcoding. From Andaman & Nicobar waters, only C. acus and Squalus megalops have been reported by Soundararajan & Roy (2004). The present study confirms the occurrence of C. moluccensis from Indian waters and also reports the species for the first time from the Andaman & Nicobar waters of the Indian EEZ, thus adding one more species to the list of squaline dogfishes from these waters.






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