Chain catsharks live in subtropical waters, with temperatures between 8.5 and 11.3ºC. They inhabit depths generally between 75 and 550 m, though in the northern part of their range they are found between 36 and 230 m. In southern areas they inhabit waters deeper than 460 m. (Bester, 2005)is found from 45ºN to 15ºN and 99ºW to 64ºW. This is essentially the outer continental shelf and upper slope of the western Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. The favored bottom is rough and rocky.
- Aquatic Biomes
- Range depth
- 460 to 36 m
- 1509.19 to 118.11 ft
- Sexual Dimorphism
- male larger
- Range mass
- 300 to 380 g
- 10.57 to 13.39 oz
- Range length
- 48 (high) cm
- 18.90 (high) in
eggs are at the blastodisc stage when laid. In early stages, the embryo lies on its left side - there is no known reason for this. When young reach 10 mm in length, they have well-defined gill arches and there is a clear roof over the medula. They continue to grow until they reach 74 mm in length, when they are fully developed in shape (though not in size). The yolk sac is still large at this stage.
In the laboratory, hatching occurred at 100 to 110 mm, with an average incubation time of 256 days (+/- SD 8 d, N = 62) at 11.7 to 12.8ºC. In natural habitats, however, it is thought to take up to a year due to colder ambient temperatures. (Castro, et al., 1988)
A male and female generally swim together, and after some time the male bites the female near the tail. He then gradually moves his grip forward until he can wrap himself around the female. He wraps himself around the female's pectoral fin, body, tail, and gills. Copulation ensues. (Castro, et al., 1988)
- Mating System
- polygynandrous (promiscuous)
Chain catsharks are oviparous breeders, non-guarders, and open water/substrate embryo-scatterers. Females lay two embryos at a time after an unknown gestation period. The embryos are deposited in an egg case (also called a "mermaid's purse") with tendrils at the 4 corners. Mating generally occurs in areas where there are structures such as sponges, gorgonians, or manmade structures, as females use these to deposit embryos. They swim around a structure with tendrils flowing behind until the tendrils wrap around the structure and the embryos are thus attached. The embryos emerge from their egg case about 250 days later. Developing embryos in egg cases have been collected in February in the Chesapeak Bay, suggesting that breeding may occur in late winter or early spring. It is thought that chain catsharks become sexually mature at 8 to 9 years old. (Bester, 2005; Castro, et al., 1988)
- Key Reproductive Features
- seasonal breeding
- gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
- Breeding interval
- Breeding intervals are not known.
- Breeding season
- Seasonality of breeding is poorly known throughout most of the range of chain catsharks.
- Range number of offspring
- 2 (high)
- Average number of offspring
- Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
- 8 to 9 years
- Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
- 8 to 9 years
After gestation of the eggs and deposition of embryos by the female, there is no parental investment by (Castro, et al., 1988). The embryo is left on its own, and it feeds from the yolk sac until it emerges from the egg case.
- Parental Investment
- no parental involvement
There is no data regarding the lifespan of (Castro, et al., 1988), although certain captive were at least nine years old at time of writing.
Chain catsharks are not exceptionally active sharks. They usually remains motionless among structures along the sea bottom, including rocks and man-made structures, swimming occasionally when hunting prey. There is little available information on activity patterns, sociality, or movements. (Bester, 2005; Castro, et al., 1988)
There is no information on home range available.
Communication and Perception
There is no data available describing the communication and/or perception of. However, as with most sharks, these catsharks are likely to have sensitive tactile and chemoreception that they use extensively in foraging.
- Animal Foods
- aquatic or marine worms
- aquatic crustaceans
There was no available data on the predators of (Bester, 2005). It is assumed that large, piscivorous fish and sharks prey on chain catsharks.
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
(; )is sometimes taken as "bycatch" in trawling fisheries, but there is no interest in these sharks commercially. They are popular in aquaria because of their small size and patterned bodies.
- Positive Impacts
- pet trade
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
There is no known negative economic impact ofon humans. These are small and docile sharks.
Chain catsharks are considered "least concern" by the IUCN and are not protected by other regulatory agencies.
Chain catsharks are also known as chain dogfish and alitán mallero. Chain catshark is considered the most appropriate English name, as they belong to a group of sharks called "catsharks."
Tanya Dewey (editor), Animal Diversity Web.
Mark Bond (author), University of Notre Dame, Karen Powers (editor, instructor), Radford University.
- Atlantic Ocean
the body of water between Africa, Europe, the southern ocean (above 60 degrees south latitude), and the western hemisphere. It is the second largest ocean in the world after the Pacific Ocean.
- bilateral symmetry
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
an animal that mainly eats meat
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
the nearshore aquatic habitats near a coast, or shoreline.
animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature
union of egg and spermatozoan
having a body temperature that fluctuates with that of the immediate environment; having no mechanism or a poorly developed mechanism for regulating internal body temperature.
- internal fertilization
fertilization takes place within the female's body
offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).
eats mollusks, members of Phylum Mollusca
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
specialized for swimming
- native range
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
reproduction in which eggs develop within the maternal body without additional nourishment from the parent and hatch within the parent or immediately after laying.
- pet trade
the business of buying and selling animals for people to keep in their homes as pets.
an animal that mainly eats fish
the kind of polygamy in which a female pairs with several males, each of which also pairs with several different females.
- saltwater or marine
mainly lives in oceans, seas, or other bodies of salt water.
- seasonal breeding
breeding is confined to a particular season
remains in the same area
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
uses touch to communicate
that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).
the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.
uses sight to communicate
Bester, C. 2005. "Chain dogfish" (On-line). Ichthyology at the Florida Museum of Natural History. Accessed September 13, 2008 at http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/Gallery/Descript/ChainDogfish/ChainDogfish.html.
Carpenter, K., S. Luna, K. Kesner-Reyes. 2006. "Scyliorhinus retifer" (On-line). Fishbase. Accessed September 13, 2006 at http://fishbase.org/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=853&genusname=Scyliorhinus&speciesname=retifer.
Castro, J., N. Overstrom, P. Bubucis. 1988. The Reproductive Biology of the Chain Dogfish, Scyliorhinus retifer. Copeia, 3: 740-746.
National Center for Biotechnology Information, 2006. "Scyliorhinus retifer" (On-line). Accessed March 21, 2006 at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Taxononmy/Browser/wwwtax.cgi?id=107947.
Schwartz, F. 2003. Sharks, Skates, and Rays of the Carolinas. Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press.