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Creature Feature

Lesser Spotted Dogfish, Scyliorhinus canicula


A Lesser Spotted Dogfish on the move

The Lesser Spotted Dogfish is one of the smaller shark species that is commonly found around Ireland in inshore areas. It has shark-like characteristics such as a mouth positioned on the underside of the head and it belongs to a group of fishes called the Catsharks (just to confuse us!). It is a nocturnal fish, feeding on crabs, whelks and fishes at night, and it can often be seen by divers resting on the sea bottom during the day. After mating in the autumn, the dogfish produces up to 20 eggs, each contained in a distinctive brown egg capsule called a Mermaid's purse. The capsule provides protection for an embryo which emerges as a miniature dogfish nine months later. Empty Mermaid's purses can often be seen washed up on the seashore. They can be used as an indicator for spawning areas of shark and ray species that require conservation measures. References


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