Chain dogfish (Scyliorhinus retifer)

Photo Credit: S.W. Ross and M. Rhode (UNCW)

Description: This small shark, also called a chain catshark, is unusual for a number of different reasons. First, it can sit on the ocean floor without moving while most other sharks must swim constantly to keep water flowing over their gills to breathe. Second, female chain dogfish can store sperm for over 2 years after mating; she always lays two egg cases at a time, and attaches them both to a vertical structure (like a deep-sea coral!). Finally, the chain dogfish glows in the dark! Its biofluorescence makes it glow green in the dark depths of the Gulf of Mexico.

Geographic Distribution

Figure 1: Relative probability of occurrence of Chain dogfish (Scyliorhinus retifer) based on computer generated distribution maps. Data source: Aquamaps

Depth Profile

Figure 2: Approximate depth range of Chain dogfish (black box). Slope of seafloor is a generalized representation of the Gulf of Mexico shelf and outer continental shelf.