Identity card

LATIN NAME: Scyliorhinus canicula

FAMILY: Scyliorhinidae

PHYLUM: Chordata

CLASS: Chondrichthyes

The small spotted catshark, as its name suggests, is both small and spotted. It spends its days resting on sand banks.

It lives on sandy, gravel or muddy bottoms at depths of 10 to 400 metres.

The small-spotted catshark hunts at night and has a very varied diet. It feeds on gastropod molluscs, cephalopods, crustaceans, worms and small fish.

It measures between 50 and 70 cm on average.

  • Distribution :

    In the wild, it is often found in the waters of the Eastern Atlantic, from the south of Norway and the Shetland Islands as far as Senegal, and in the Mediterranean and Adriatic seas.
  • IUCN Status :

    Least concern. The small-spotted catshark is a commercially fished species.

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Did you know ?

Find out more about the small-spotted catshark
Biomimetics: the shark has inspired the creation of some innovative technologies. Its skin has been used as a model for creating antibacterial, hydro/aerodynamic and antifouling clothing; its fins have helped to improve the stability of airplanes thanks to “sharklets” and the shape of its tail has served as inspiration for tidal steam generators.

It is sold by fishmongers under the generic name of rock salmon.

The small-spotted catshark has the ability to adapt. It has become a carrion eater, following ships to feed off the injured prey and dead fish thrown back into the sea.

The small-spotted catshark reaches sexual maturity at around 5 years. It is oviparous and lays eggs every year at varying intervals depending on the region. The eggs have long filaments that attach themselves to seaweed and rocks. The incubation period depends on the temperature of the water.

At NAUSICAA, the keepers collect the eggs of small-spotted catsharks every day. They then place them in the nursery aquarium.






Crédits photo du bandeau : © P. Jouk
Crédits photo de la galerie : © C.Mayer / © Y. Tavernier

Activities AT NAUSICAA


Every day, there are events focused on Nausicaa’s main species. With training and feeding sessions and talks on life in Europe’s largest aquarium, your visit will be a rich and entertaining experience!
Learn about the life of fishes, hear some surprising stories and enjoy the antics of some amazing animals.

Meet our 58 000 animals