Fish of the Week: Chain Catshark

Happy Shark Week folks! If you haven’t been stalking the Discovery Channel, it’s

Courtesy of Elasmodiver
Courtesy of Elasmodiver

time to start! Lots of fun shark-facts for you to discover. This week, we’re going to look at a popular shark in home aquariums, the chain catshark. Due to its smaller size, chain catshark can be a potential addition to a large saltwater home aquarium.

Otherwise known as chain dogfish (they are members of the catshark family), chain catsharks have a distinctive pattern all along their bodies. They are found in the wild along the Atlantic coast of the United States from Georges Bank to Nicaragua. In the wild, they like to eat squid, small bony fishes, worms and crustaceans.

If you have ever walked along a beach along the east coast of the US, you have

Courtesy of FLMNH Ichthyology Department
Courtesy of FLMNH Ichthyology Department

probably seen skate egg cases called a “mermaids purse.” Chain catsharks are also egg layers, and lay a similar case for their young. If you are fortunate enough to live near Mystic Aquarium, they take these eggs and apply a clear screen over top, so you can actually see the babies inside the eggs as they develop!

If you are looking to add a chain catshark to your aquarium, make sure you have enough room to house them as adults, not just juveniles. The largest male and females caught in the wild were just longer than 18″, so make sure to estimate that will be your shark further down the road. They are a relatively docile species and will not go after your other aquarium fish as long as you feed them regularly. This species in particular likes to sit on a sandy bottom and may not be a good choice if you want a shark actively swimming around your tank.

Have an idea for a Fish of the Week? Please let us know in the comments section or on our Facebook page!


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