Another shark that glows

The Blotched catshark (Scyliorhinus meadi) is a little-known species of catshark belonging to the family Scyliorhinidae, found in the northwestern central Atlantic Ocean. It inhabits banks of deep-sea coral at depths of 1,079–1,798 feet, feeding on cephalopods, shrimp, and bony fishes. This species can be identified by its broad body and head, and the dark saddle-like markings on its back. It is not to be confused with Asymbolus funebris, also known as the Blotched catshark Asymbolus. It is also possible that the Blotched catshark has small spots that fluoresce yellow under a blue light, capable of fluorescence.

Family: Scyliorhinidae – Catsharks

Genus: Scyliorhinus 

Species: meadi


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles


Common NameGround Sharks

Family– Scyliorhinidae

Common NameCatsharks




Average Size and Length: Only immature specimens have been measured between 18-49 cm/ 7 inches-1.6 feet. The largest male measured 49 cm/1.6 feet and the largest female 43 cm/1.4 feet. The sizes of the known immature specimens suggest that the adults are relatively large.

Current Rare Mythical Sightings: The Blotched catshark was first scientifically described in 1966 by American ichthyologist Stewart Springer, based on a 25 cm/9.8-inch-long immature male caught off Cape Canaveral, Florida. He named it after Giles W. Mead, who brought the original specimen to his attention. From 1970 to 1979, this species was regarded as a subspecies of the Chain catshark but is now regarded as its own species.

Teeth and Jaw: There are labial furrows on the lower jaw only. The teeth in the upper jaw are exposed when the mouth is closed.

Head: The Blotched catshark has a broad head. The small anterior nasal flaps end just in front of the mouth. There are no nasoral grooves.

Denticles: The dermal denticles are small and flattened.

Tail: The caudal fin is nearly horizontal, with an indistinct lower lobe and a prominent notch near the tip of the upper lobe.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Blotched catshark can be found in the northwest Atlantic from North Carolina to Florida in the USA, and the Santaren Channel between Cuba and the Bahamas bank, and Mexico in the Gulf of Mexico and northern Yucatan Peninsula. They can be found on the continental slope on or near the bottom between 1,079–1,798 feet. It is a deep-water species that has been found among coral banks composed largely of Lophelia pertusa.

Diet: They eat shrimp, cephalopods and bony fish that are somewhat large in comparison to the size of the shark.

Aesthetic Identification: The Blotched catshark is stalky and dark with seven or eight darker (and sometimes obscure) saddles. There are no spots. It has a broad, heavily built body, tapering greatly towards the tail. The second dorsal fin is much smaller than the first dorsal fin. The first dorsal fin originates over the pelvic fins, while the second dorsal fin originates over the anal fin.

Biology and Reproduction: They are presumably oviparous. Its internal anatomy suggests that it lays encapsulated eggs like the other members of its family, though these egg cases have not been observed.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Unknown, but it is possible that the Blotched catshark is fluorescent, a form of bioluminescence. It is said to have small spots that fluoresce yellow under a blue light.

Blotched Catshark Future and Conservation: There is not enough data to evaluate, but they are rare to find. There is no economic importance, and they also live deeper than trawlers fish.

Blotched Catshark Recorded Attacks on Humans: Not a threat to humans.