Scyliorhinus canicula (Linnaeus, 1758)


Scyliorhinus canicula

Description: Dogfish are small, shallow-water sharks with blunt heads and slender, elongate bodies and two dorsal fins situated towards the tail end of the body. The dogfish is the most common shark encountered by divers. It is usually between 60-70cm in length although it can be up to 1m. The upper surface is greyish to pale brown with small dark brown spots, the underside is creamy-white. The skin is rough, similar to the texture of sand paper.

Habitat: Dogfish are bottom-living sharks which occur on a wide variety of seabed types but are most commonly encountered on sand or gravel at depths between 1-50m, although it is occasionally recorded from much greater depths. It feeds on a range of bottom-living invertebrates, especially crabs, shrimps, molluscs and worms and also some small fish.

Distribution: This species is common and widespread all around the coasts of Britain and Ireland.

Similar Species: The common dogfish is easily confused with the nursehound (Scylorhinus stellaris) however the two species can usually be distinguished by their coloration. The former has numerous small dark spots whilst the latter has fewer and larger dark spots. They can also be distinguished by their nasal grooves which are connected to the mouth in the dogfish but are unconnected in the nursehound.

Key Identification Features:

Distribution Map: NBN map : National Biodiversity Network mapping facility, data for UK.

WoRMS: Species record : World Register of Marine Species.

iNaturalist: Species account : iNaturalist World Species Observations database

 Picton, B.E. & Morrow, C.C. (2016). Scyliorhinus canicula (Linnaeus, 1758). [In] Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland.
https://www.habitas.org.uk/marinelife/species.asp?item=ZF400 Accessed on 2024-06-21

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