Cornwall

Baby catsharks boom for Newquay aquarium

  • 26 February 2013
  • From the section Cornwall
A cat shark at Newquay's Blue Reef
Image caption The baby catsharks have all been born within the space of a few weeks

A dozen catsharks are being looked after at a Cornish aquarium after an unexpected baby boom.

The baby fish have all been born within the space of a few weeks and are being kept in a specially constructed nursery display.

Staff at Newquay's Blue Reef aquarium are expecting more to emerge from their protective cases soon.

Catsharks are 10 cm (4in) long when they hatch after spending 11 months developing inside the egg capsule.

Christine Comery, from the aquarium, said: "It's quite unusual for so many egg cases to have hatched out in such a short period of time.

"All the babies are thriving."

In the wild, each egg capsule is secured to rocks or seaweed by tendrils which prevent it from being washed away by tides or currents.

Once the sharks have hatched the empty egg cases - commonly known as mermaids' purses - are often found washed ashore on British beaches.

The catshark, or rock salmon as it is sometimes called, can reach lengths of up to a metre when fully grown.

They feed on crabs, shrimps and shellfish as well as small fish.

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