New Bedford, MA (Dec. 23, 2011) – Sharks! Lots of them! The Buttonwood Park Zoo in New Bedford, MA is pleased to announce the recent hatch of 12 chain dogfish in the Zoo’s Aquatics Building. The recently hatched sharks are between 3 and 5 inches long.
Chain dogfish (Scyliorhinus retifer) are a small species of shark that are found from Georges Bank to the coast of Nicaragua. Feeding primarily on squid, fish, crustaceans and polychaete worms, the sharks are bottom dwellers usually found between 120 and 2,000 feet. Beautifully marked with a dark brown or black chain pattern on a tan background, chain dogfish reach a size of 15 to 18 inches at maturity. Their mottled pattern helps them blend into the rocky sand. They spend the majority of their time resting on the ocean floor, blending in with their surroundings.
Adult chain dogfish are oviparous with the females laying egg cases in pairs. The embryos develop in the cases for 8 to 12 months. The length of time between laying and hatching is believed to be reliant on water temperature.
In addition to the 12 young sharks, the zoo also has adult chain dogfish and viable egg cases on exhibit. Close observation of the egg cases will reveal movement of the soon-to-hatch little sharks. Visit the Aquatics Building to see the Zoo’s chain dogfish.