Blackmouth Catshark (Galeus melastomus)
Recently, a blackmouth catshark was found to have no outer skin later, as well as no teeth. Despite this, it was still able to live and even thrive. When it was caught in a net, it had a full stomach, so it was still able to fend for itself without these otherwise important structures. So let's learn more about this fascinating animal.
Physical Description and Behavior
This species has an intricate design but is mainly brownish-orange in color. It is very long and slender with a large pointed snout. They can be upwards of 3 pounds with female blackmouths being larger on average than males. The longest catshark has measured about 35 inches.
Fun fact: Since these sharks are predators, they are more likely to consume microplastics from smaller fish. A study from 2017 found that 17% of all blackmouth catsharks studied had notable levels of microplastics in their gut.
On the topic of food, these sharks are known for being generalist feeders. They primarily feed on free-swimming and bottom feeder type fish. This includes krill, dragonfishes, cephalopods, etc. It is also uncommon, but still possible, for these catsharks to also scavenge from leftover remains of other fish.
Habitat and Location
These sharks can be found in a variety of depths, ranging from as shallow as 66 feet to as deep as 12,000 feet below the surface. They are mainly found off the coast of the UK and Ireland, but can also be found in Norway, France, Spain, and around the Mediterranean sea.
They often prefer more muddy habitats, living on or near the ocean floor.
Watch the video below to see the blackmouth catshark in action off the coast of Norway.