A shark with striking yellow spots that curls up when threatened

The Yellowspotted catshark (Scyliorhinus capensis) is a catshark belonging to the family Scyliorhinidae. It is found in the southeast Atlantic, from Lüderitz, Namibia and South Africa. It is of a relatively larger size, being grey in color with darker grey saddles and small yellow spots.


Family: Scyliorhinidae – Catsharks

Genus: Scyliorhinus 

Species: capensis


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles


Common NameGround Sharks

Family– Scyliorhinidae

Common NameCatsharks




Average Size and Length: Each egg case measures around 8 x 3 cm/3.1-1.2 inches. Hatchlings measure between 25-27 cm/9.8-10.6 inches. Mature males measure between 72-83 cm/2.4-2.7 feet and mature females between 75-80 cm/2.5-2.6 feet. The maximum recorded was 122 cm/4 feet.

Teeth and Jaw: The labial furrows are on the lower jaw only. Female teeth are narrow with an extremely long central cusp surrounded by two to four small cusplets. The central cusp is long and pointed, but thick.

Head: There are small anterior nasal flaps. There are no nasoral grooves. The eyes are cat-like in appearance.

Denticles: The skin is rough.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Yellowspotted catshark can be found in the southeast Atlantic Ocean and the western Indian Ocean in Lüderitz Namibia and South Africa at both Capes (0° and 37° S). They are found on the bottom on the continental shelf and upper slope, including the soft sandy bottom, and rocky reefs between 85-2,280 feet, but mostly between 656-1,312 feet. It is found deeper in warmer water, but on a rarer occasion.

Diet: They feed on invertebrates and small fish.

Aesthetic Identification: The Yellowspotted catshark is a fairly large, slender and grey catshark with eight or nine irregular darker grey saddles, and numerous small bright yellow spots. There are no dark spots. The ventral side is cream in color. The second dorsal fin is much smaller than the first.

Biology and Reproduction: They are oviparous, laying pairs of egg cases.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: When it is caught, it coils up in a tight ball.

Yellowspotted Catshark Future and Conservation: They are currently near threatened. They are quite common on the heavily fished offshore banks. On the soft bottom, it is frequently trawled. Due to the heavy fishing activity in its range and its drop in the rate of reproduction, it is near threatened. It is also discarded as bycatch.

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