Information on the distribution of three species of eastern North Pacific (ENP) catsharks (Apristurus brunneus, Apristurus kampae, and Parmaturus xaniurus) and their egg cases was previously unavailable despite being a species of interest for fisheries management evaluation and policy regulation. Data were generated from specimens collected by survey cruises from June 2001 through October 2004 between northern Washington to San Diego, California, U.S.A. and from known catch locations of specimens in museum collections. Longline catches consisted mainly of P. xaniurus, with occasional catch of gravid female A. brunneus. Conversely, trawl catches consisted mainly of Apristurus species. The three catshark species exhibited distinct differences in latitudinal and bathymetric range, albeit with partial overlap. Apristurus brunneus was typically found between 300 and 942 m along the entire area surveyed, while A. kampae always occurred >1,000-m depth and was not found north of 42°N. Parmaturus xaniurus was caught between 300- and 550-m depth between 40°N and 32°N. Egg cases of A. brunneus and P. xaniurus were collected in trawl surveys and observed in video footage taken by remotely operated vehicle. These egg cases were located in specific sites on areas of high vertical relief at 300- to 500-m depth. Nursery grounds, which were previously unknown for these catshark species, were described within the Monterey Bay Canyon and along the California coastline were identified on the basis of recurrence and specificity of oviposition. This paper describes the range of A. brunneus, A. kampae, and P. xaniurus in the ENP, detailing latitudinal, bathymetric, sexual, and ontogenetic intra- and interspecific segregation patterns.
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Vol. 525 • No. 1