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A chain dogfish at Shedd Aquarium

Chain Dogfish

At 15 to 18 inches long, these are the smallest sharks at Shedd. Look for their habitat on the right-hand side of the gallery, where they typically rest vertically on a rock wall. These native North American sharks like to stay on the ocean floor—at 120 to 750 feet within their northern range in the western Atlantic. But scientists in submarines have encountered them at 1,800 feet down in the Gulf of Mexico.

Glow-in-the-dark shark

Where we see a pretty pattern of dark brown links on a pale gold background, chain dogfish literally see each other in a different light. They are one of only a few shark species that exhibit biofluorescence. That is, they glow in the dark. In the deep ocean, where only blue light penetrates, a mystery pigment in the sharks' skin absorbs the blue light and re-emits it in a fluorescent green pattern. Our eyes can't see it, but the sharks' can, helping them to identify each other in the dark ocean.

Related animals

Leopard Shark

Horn Shark

Whitespotted Bamboo Shark