name = Catsharks
image_width = 200px
Chain catshark, " Scyliorhinus retifer"
phylum = Chordata
familia = Scyliorhinidae
familia_authority = Gill, 1862
subdivision_ranks = Genera
subdivision = See text.The cat sharks or catsharks are a family (Scyliorhinidae) of
sharks, with over 110 speciesrecorded. Paradoxically perhaps, while the group is called the cat shark family, many species are commonly called dogfish. Recent DNA analysis have shown this group to be more closely related to batoidsthan to other sharks.
Cat sharks may be distinguished by their elongated
cat-like eyes and two small dorsal fins set far back. Most species are not particularly large, with lengths up to 60 - 70 cm or so, although the humpback cat shark, " Apristurus gibbosus", from the deep waters of the South China Seahas been recorded at 4 m in length. Most of the species have a patterned appearance, ranging from stripes to patches to spots. They feed on invertebrates and smaller fish. Some species are ovoviviparous while most lay eggs in tough egg-cases with curly tendrils at each end known as mermaid's purses.
The "swell sharks" of the
genus" Cephaloscyllium" have the curious ability to fill their stomachs with water or air when threatened, increasing their girth by a factor of 2 or 3.
Australian marbled catshark, " Atelomycterus macleayi", is a favored type for home aquaria, because it rarely grows to more than 60 cm (2 ft) in length.
List of sharks
* [http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/FamilySummary.cfm?ID=10 FishBase entry for Scyliorhinidae]
* [http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Scyliorhinidae.html Animal Diversity Web entry for Scyliorhinidae]
* [http://www.fmnh.helsinki.fi/users/haaramo/Metazoa/Deuterostoma/Chordata/Chondrichthyes/Elasmobranchii/Carcharhiniformes/Scyliorhinidae.htm Mikko's Phylogeny Archive - Scyliorhinidae]
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