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Smallspotted CatShark



Smallspotted Catshark




Scientific name..........Scyliorhinus Canicula

Family name.............Scyliorhinidae



The smallspotted catshark has a long, slender body and relatively short tail. Its head is slightly flattened and has large nasal flaps that project back to the edge of the mouth. The catshark's body is covered with small, usually dark, spots. Short broadly rounded snout. Eyes large and horizontally elongate. Greatly expanded anterior nasal flaps reach mouth and cover shallow nasoral grooves, labial furrows on lower jaw only. Second dorsal much smaller than the first. Some sharks have an additional eight to nine dark, saddle-like shapes or blotches along their back. These markings are highly variable among individuals and in different locations.


  • SIZE

These sharks are considerable smaller in the Mediterranean, males mature at 15.3 inches, females at 17.3 inches and can attain a maximum length of 23.6 to 27.5. They are larger in the Atlantic and the North Sea and can grow to a length of 39.3 inches.



There body is covered in numerous small dark spots and speckles on a light background, scattered white spots sometimes present. The dorsal color is sandy or slightly tan, with numerous small spots, dark brown or nearly black in color and about the size of the eye pupil.



These sharks feed on a variety of small fishes, mollusks, and crustaceans such as shrimp, crab, and lobster. Catsharks employ a quick biting action that sucks water into the mouth along with prey items.



Like most catsharks it is active at night. During the day, it can be found resting in open or sheltered areas on rocky reefs, sandy bays, and muddy bottoms. Adults often found in single sex schools, young and hatchlings in shallower water.



They are found in Northeast Atlantic: Norway and British Isles to Mediterranean, Canary Islands, Azores, Morocco, Sahara Republic and Mauritania to Senegal, Ivory Coast. They occur in continental shelves and upper slopes, on sediment from near shore to depths of 330 feet.



Aggregations of females are found inshore during winter, where they are joined by males in spring. In late summer, the adult population migrates to deeper offshore waters to mate. The male bites the female during courtship, then coils around her to transfer sperm. This species is oviparous and females move into shallow water to deposit their egg cases with tendrils for attaching among the rocky reefs or algal patches, egg size varies with female size. After about nine months, the young emerge, measuring approximately about 3.6 inches. Adult males join them before both sexes return to deeper water.



They are considered harmless.



Abundant. This species is commercially important in Europe for meat, fishmeal, and oil. Taken in many fisheries, retained and discarded, but high discard survival and some populations are stable or increasing. Hardy aquarium species, breeds in captivity.


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