False Catshark

Discovery

Overview — Imagine being named something that you are not, such as “Not a Horse.” This was the case for the false catshark, whose only resemblance to a cat is its elongated eyes.

Catsharks, in general, are also distinguished by two small dorsal fins. Interestingly enough, many members of this same family of sharks are also called dogfish. These sharks possess spiracles, which are respiratory openings behind the eyes. They also have a large mouth with a very wide gape, the better to hold its hundreds of teeth. The small teeth fit tightly together in multiple rows arranged around the shark’s mouth.

This shark has been found in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. It favors deep waters between 656 to 4,921 feet.

Feeding Habits — A 1992 study conducted by shark experts examined the diet of false catsharks. The researchers cut open the stomachs of select specimens to determine what they had recently consumed. False catsharks from the North and South Pacific ate cut-throat eels, grenadiers, snake mackerel, lanternsharks, squids, octopuses, frigate mackerel, needlefishes and two pufferfishes. A northeastern Atlantic false catshark unfortunately had consumed large quantities of human garbage, including a plastic bag, soft drink can, potatoes and a pear.

Cool Fact — The false catshark is the only member of its genus, Pseudotriakis, and of its particular family, Pseudotriakidae.

Common Max Depth — 4,921 feet

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