THE SHARKS

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Nurse Shark
Cantioscyllium decipiens (Woodward)

Age - Cretaceous  Commonality - Very uncommon?

 One of two species of nurse shark found in NJ, Cantioscyllium decipiens was added to the fauna list of New Jersey in 2008 The teeth  of C decipiens are small, averaging between 4 and 5 mm (3/16's of an inch) across and similar to the teeth of the other nurse sharks. Distinguishing characteristics of C decipiens are the presence of one to three weak cupslets on each shoulder and strong wrinkles on the labial side of the tooth. The root has a single large medial nutrient pore and a single pair of lateral pores.

 


 

Cantioscyllium decipiens

The teeth of C. decipiens are small averaging between 4 and 5mm.
Determining the commonality of the smaller teeth is always difficult,
but given the fact that this species has only recently been reported from NJ
leads me to believe that it is more on the scarce side.
 


 

nurse shark

One of the characteristics that distinguish C. decipiens from the other
nurse sharks are the strong wrinkles on the labial side of the tooth.
 


 

The cusplets on this species is best described as weak and can vary in
number from 1 to 3 on each shoulder. The tooth on the right shows
 heavy feeding wear on the main cusp.
 


 

There is a single large medial nutrient pore and a single pair of
lateral pores present on the root.
 


 

Left - profile view Right - view of the bottom of the root.
 


 

The main cusp of Cantioscyllium decipiens is relatively large. Although
the root is damaged on this specimen, the main cusp shows just a small
 amount of  feeding wear.  
 


 

Three teeth perched on top of a quarter gives a good perspective
of the tooth sizes.
(US quarter = 24mm)
 


  Mehling, C. M., W. R. Callahan, and M. P. Garb. 2008. Revision of the Late Cretaceous (Campanian) Vertebrate Fauna at Ramanessin Brook, NJ. In Press.
 

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