Jaguar Catshark

The jaguar catshark is a species named correctly in 2012. While first discovered in 1995, it was given the name “Galápagos catshark” by several pieces of non-scientific literature. Since the Galápagos consisted of several species of catshark, the scientists who discovered it gave the shark its proper nomenclature afterward.

Its scientific name honors Al Giddings, a noted underwater cinematographer, and photographer. Its common name references the spots on its body and the 2004 Wes Anderson movie The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

Jaguar Catshark Scientific Classification

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Chondrichthyes
Order Carcharhiniformes
Family Scyliorhinidae
Genus Bythaelurus
Scientific Name B. giddingsi


Jaguar catsharks are about a foot long, with its head making up 21-24% of the shark’s total body length. Its snout is rounded and its mouth reaches up to its cat-like eyes.

This shark has two dorsal fins, an anal fin as large as the second dorsal fin, triangularly shaped pelvic and pectoral fins, and an asymmetrical caudal fin.

It is blackish or chocolate brown, with scattered large white spots, present all over dorsally. Some of these spots are as big as the shark’s eyes. Ventrally, the shark is much paler.

Where do they live

This shark has a small range, only seen around a few Galápagos Islands, such as Darwin Island, Fernandina Island, Marchena Island, and San Cristóbal Island.

Its depth range is 1404 to 1844 ft, swimming over flat sea bottoms with either sandy or a mix of both sandy and muddy substrates.



Jaguar catsharks are bottom feeders consuming fish and invertebrates.


While yet to be confirmed, it is most likely that this shark, like other catsharks, is oviparous, i.e., it gives birth by laying eggs.

Interactions with humans

The IUCN has not yet classified this shark, but given its low distribution, it may face several problems like loss of habitat and overfishing.

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