Galeus arae

Common Name

Marbled Catshark

Year Described

Nichols, 1927


An elongate shark with a large head tapering posteriorly to a narrow caudal fin. Pelvic origin separated from pectoral base by a distance almost equal to inter-dorsal distance. Anal fin base short (< 14% TL). Pectoral fin broadly rounded. Caudal fin with very weak lower lobe. Enlarged dermal denticles on dorsal margin of tail. Subcaudal crest absent. Diplospondylous precaudal vertebrae number 38-43 (mean of 40.5).


Body pale brown basally with bold black spots and saddle markings on body (usually <11). One row of blotches runs from the rear of the head along the dorsal surface to the tail, with obvious saddles under each dorsal fin. Another lower row of blotches and elongated spots runs from behind the eye along the side to above the pelvic fin. Markings can be dark or obscure. Dorsal fin dark basally with a pale outer half. Pelvic fin dark with a pale margin. Other fins with indistinct darker markings. Mouth lining dark. Belly white.


Mature adults from 27-33cm TL. Maximum size to 33cm TL.


Continental shelf and slope from 292-732m. Occurs near the bottom.


Continental: North Carolina to Cuba and the Gulf of Mexico. Also from Belize to Costa Rica.


Castro, J.I. 2011. The Sharks of North America. Oxford University Press, 640 pp.

Compagno, L., M. Dando, and S. Fowler. 2005. Sharks of the World. Princeton University Press, 480 pp.

Springer, S. 1979. A revision of the catsharks, family Scyliorhinidae. NOAA Technical Report NMFS Circular No. 422: 1–15.