Dogfish Blackhead Kinsale

Catshark commonly called Dogfish rests at Black Head

In Ireland Catsharks (scyliorhinidae) are often called Dogfish. Most divers and many fisherman will call a small spotted Catshark a common Dogfish of a lesser spotted Dogfish. However true dogfish sharks belong to a separate Order (Squaliformes).

Catsharks are shallow-water sharks with blunt heads and slender, elongate bodies and two dorsal fins situated towards the tail end of the body. This little shark is often encountered by divers all along the South Cork coast. Catsharks are normally between 60-70cm long, although it can be up to 1m. The upper body is a sandy brown colour with small dark brown spots, the underside is creamy-white. The skin is rough, similar to the texture of sand paper.

The Catshark is bottom-living shark which occur on a wide variety of seabed types but are most commonly encountered on sand or gravel or rocky bottoms at depths between 1-50m. It feeds on a range of bottom-living invertebrates, especially crabs, shrimps, molluscs and worms and also some small fish. This species is very common off the Cork coast of Ireland.