Large-spotted catshark

Large-spotted catshark ©Peter Verhoog


Scientific name: Scyliorhinus stellaris
The nursehound is a nocturnal predator, hunting smaller fish close to the seafloor.

Species information


Length: Up to 160 cm
Weight: Up to 10 kg

Conservation status

The nursehound is listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN Red List.

When to see

Present all year round.


Nursehounds like to stay close to the sea floor, living in rocky areas with lots of algae. They hunt at night, feeding on cephalopods (like squid and octopus), crustaceans (like crabs and large shrimp), smaller fish and even other sharks.

During the day they hide in holes and crevices in the rock, with several sharks sometimes resting in the same crevice.

The nursehound is also known as the greater-spotted catshark, bull huss, greater-spotted dogfish, and rough hound shark – that’s a lot of names for one species!

How to identify

The nurseshound is a large catshark, long and slender but quite stocky towards the front. It has large spots all over its body, and nasal flaps that fall just short of the mouth.


Found all around the UK.

Did you know?

Nursehounds lay their eggs amongst seaweed. The egg cases have curly tendrils that wrap around the seaweed to prevent the egg case from floating away.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts are working with sea users, scientists, politicians and local people towards a vision of 'Living Seas', where marine wildlife thrives. Do your bit for our Living Seas by supporting your local Wildlife Trust or checking out our Action Pages.