This small (usually less than 2 feet or 55 cm in length) sleek-looking fish is related to larger sharks and rays. Catsharks get their name from the way their eyes glow when a light is shown on them – like a cat’s eyes. They usually have a black or brown dorsal area, with lighter coloration on the underside of the body. The females are oviparous , meaning they lay egg cases and the young develop inside. The young swim out of the egg case after about two years. The animal has several unique adaptations. An enlarged gill region allows the catshark to live in deep ocean areas with low dissolved oxygen levels. The fish also has a high concentration of squalene in its liver, an organic compound that is lighter than water and helps the shark maintain buoyancy. It feeds on a variety of small fish (e.g. lanternfish) and invertebrates.
Range & Habitat
The Filetail Catshark is found in the eastern Pacific Ocean from Oregon to the Gulf of California. They are generally found on the outer continental shelf and upper continental slope at depths from 295 to 4100 feet (90 to 1,250 m). The catshark is regularly caught by bottom trawlers but not utilized at all in the fishing industry.