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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Chain Catshark Scyliorhinus retifer

With its chain-link pattern, the chain catshark (also known as the chain catfish) is unmistakable. It is one of about 90 catsharks that make up the largest shark family, Scyliorhinidae. Living on the seabed, it feeds on worms, crustaceans, and small fish. Deep furrows connect the nostrils to the mouth, and the eyes are catlike. Chain catsharks lay 40–50 eggs per year in horny capsules with long tendrils at each corner. The empty cases may be washed ashore and are known as mermaid’s purses.

Chain Catshark habitat mapzoom image
  • Order Carcharhiniformes
  • Length 1 ft (0.5 m)
  • Weight Not recorded
  • Depth 115–1,800 ft (35–550 m)
  • Distribution North and western Atlantic, Caribbean