(1. SCYLLIUM, CUV).
Spots small and numerous: ventrals cut obliquely at their posterior margin: valves of the nostrils united, partly covering the mouth.
S. Canicula, Linn. Syst. Nat. torn. 1. p. 399. S. Catulus, Block, Ichth. pl. 114. Don. Brit. Fish. vol. 111. pl. 55. Blainv. Faun. Franc, p. 69. pl. 17. f. 1. Scylliura Catulus, Flem. Brit. An. p. 165. (Male). S. stellare, Id. (Fem). S. Canicula, Bon. Faun. Ital. Fasc. vii. Catulus major vulgaris, Will. Hist. Pise. p. 62. tab. B.4. f. 1. Catulus minor, Id. p. 64.? Lesser Spotted Dog-Fish, (Male), and Spotted Dog-Fish, (Fem). Penn. Brit. Zool. vol. iii. pp. 115, and 113. pl. 15. Lesser Spotted Shark, (Male,) and Spotted Shark, (Fem). Id. (Ed. 1812). vol. 111. pp. 150, and 148. pl. 19. La grande Roussette, Cuv. Reg. An. torn. 11. p. 386.
From two to three feet; sometimes three feet and a half, or even more.
(Form). Body elongated, tapering from behind the pectorals, where the thickness is greatest: head blunt, depressed: snout short and rounded: nostrils on the under surface of the snout, near the mouth, large, prolonged in a channel to the margin of the lips, and almost entirely closed by a fleshy valve or lobe of the skin; each valve unites with its fellow on the opposite side, the two together forming a large flap, emarginated in front, which extends over the upper lip and entirely conceals it: mouth beneath, behind the nostrils, of a semicircular form: both jaws with several rows of small, but sharp, teeth, inclining backwards; each tooth furnished with a long point in the middle, and smaller denti-culations at the sides: eyes large, oblong-oval, at equal distances from each other and the end of the snout; behind each a small temporal orifice, or spiracle, communicating with the mouth: branchial openings at the sides of the neck, five in number, parallel to, and equally distant from, each other, arranged in a longitudinal series, the first as far behind the eyes, as these last are distant from the end of the snout, the last immediately above the pectoral fin; first four openings nearly of equal size, the fifth smaller: skin somewhat glistening, very rough when the hand is passed from tail to head, but only slightly so in the opposite direction, the roughness proceeding from very minute denticulated scales: no distinct lateral line: two dorsals; both placed very much behind: the first commencing about the middle of the entire length, of a trapezoidal form, cut square behind, its greatest height about equal to the depth of the body, the space which it occupies about two-thirds of the same: second dorsal rather before the middle point between the first dorsal and the end of the caudal, shaped like the first, but rather smaller: anal answering to the space between the two dorsals, commencing a little beyond the termination of the first, and terminating nearly in a line with the commencement of the second; somewhat triangular, with the posterior portion produced backwards in the form of a lanceolate process: tail very long, equalling a little more than half the entire length; terminating in a caudal fin; upper lobe of the caudal commencing a little beyond the termination of the second dorsal, low at first, but gradually widening towards its extremity, which is truncated; lower lobe a little distant from the upper, and of a triangular form: pectorals large, of about the length of the head, broadest at their posterior margin, which is cut square: vent-rals a little in advance of the first dorsal, attached horizontally, much smaller than the pectorals, obliquely truncated behind, their posterior margins meeting at an acute angle; together they form a kind of lozenge, in the middle of which is the vent. The male is characterized by having the ventrals larger than in the other sex, and united throughout their length by an intermediate membrane; they are also furnished on their inner margins with fusiform appendages, not extending beyond the fin in young subjects, but lengthening in adults: in the female, the ventrals have the last third portions of their inner margins separate. (Colours). Back, upper portion of the head, and the whole of the sides, reddish gray, or dirty flesh-red, with very numerous small dark brown spots; the spots on the posterior portion of the body more scattered: fins coloured like the back, but the spots larger and less numerous; anal almost without spots: under portion of the head and body whitish, free from spots. Obs. The spots are generally less numerous, and rather larger, in the female than in the male.
A common species on all parts of the coast. Does not attain to any great size. Very voracious, preying on almost any animal substance. Oviparous: produces, according to Pennant, about nineteen young at a time. Very tenacious of life. Obs. I have ventured to bring together the Spotted Dog-Fish and the Lesser Spotted Dog-Fish of Pennant, under a strong suspicion that they are simply the two sexes of the present species. The female has probably been confounded by some authors with the following.