Marbled Cat Shark

Family: Scyliorhinidae Picture of a Marbled Cat SharkAtelomycterus macleayiPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy David Brough
Latest Reader Comment - See More
The sexual difference is easy to tell. Look at the "tags" around the anal...females have 2. I have a female who is beautiful, also do not feed them live food! trust... (more)  Thefishkeeper

   The Marbled Cat Shark is considered a "true catshark" with a long slender body and a narrow head. It is a bottom feeder that is found in Northern Australia.

   The adult size of 24 inches (60 cm) makes this shark the smallest we have encountered!

   The Marbled Cat Shark is considered a good aquarium choice. It is hardy and easy to take care of, though it will need a roomy marine aquarium to accommodate it when it reaches it's adult size.

For more Information on keeping this fish see:
Guide to a Happy, Healthy Marine Aquarium

Geographic Distribution
Atelomycterus macleayi
Data provided by
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Actiniform
  • Class: Elasmobranchii
  • Order: Carcharhiniformes
  • Family: Scyliorhinidae
  • Genus: Atelomycterus
  • Species: macleayi
Marbled Cat Shark juvenile, Atelomycterus macleayi
Report Broken Video
Acclimating Marbled Cat Shark

This shark is one of the smallest sharks that can be kept in captivity. The Marbled Cat Shark, not to be confused with the Marbled Bamboo Cat Shark (Chiloscyllium plagiosum) will only grow to just under 2 feet, making them the most suitable for a captive environment. The Marbled Bamboo will grow to 3 feet or more. They are still sharks and will probably not have a problem eating any peaceful, semi-aggressive fish that are smaller and bite sized. Aquarists have had success with fresh salmon (non-colored), silversides and squid. Live foods are not necessary and can cause them to become more aggressive toward tank mates. Do NOT feed them goldfish or any freshwater fish. Keep in a tank that has secure rock work since they can tumble loose structures as they push through tight crevices. They are known to jump, so keep a lid on the tank with weights so they cannot dislodge it. They are actually easy to care for if the tank is large enough (210 to 240 gallons for 1 to 3) and the water is kept clean. They like to squeeze into tight spaces, so add a 2" PVC pipe 1/4 filled with sand for them to snug themselves in. They hide during the day and feed at night. Feed every other day.

Marbled Cat Shark adult, Atelomycterus macleayi
Report Broken Video
Adult patterning of the Marbled Cat Shark

The Marbled Cat Shark only gets to a little over 23," and can be kept in a tank that is around 200 gallons. They can be kept in small groups of 3 and the tank should have clean water and good filtration. They love to wiggle into tight spaces especially at night, which can topple loose rock work, so be sure it is all secured. One successful aquarist puts 2" PVC under some of the rock work for his 3 to hang out at night. Feed mussel, squid and table shrimp as well as fresh non-colored salmon.

Maintenance difficulty:

   The Marbled Cat Shark is easy to keep if you have a large enough aquarium.


   Feed all kinds of large meaty foods like small pieces of fish, squid, shrimp, frozen silversides, and krill. Best to feed small amounts several times a day.

Habitat: Natural geographic location:

   Marbled Cat Shark are found near Northern Australia.


  Natural foods include gastropod and bivalve molluscs with smaller amounts of crabs, shrimp, and small fish.

Social Behaviors:

   This fish can be kept with other fish and is usually no problem even with smaller fish that could be eaten. They usually only try to eat fish that are either dying or distressed.

Sex: Sexual differences:

    The medial edges of the male's pelvic fins are modified to form claspers. The claspers are tubelike organs designed to deliver sperm into the female's reproductive tract. As the males grow older the claspers become more pronounced. The females do not have these.

Light: Recommended light levels:

   No special requirements.


   Oviparous egglayer. The young are about 10 cm (4 inches) in length when they hatch.


   No special requirements.

Length/Diameter of fish:

   Marbled Cat Shark adults can grow to 24 inches (60 cm).

Minimum Tank Length/Size:

   A minimum 100 gallon aquarium is recommended.

Water Movement: Weak, Moderate, Strong

   Not particular.

Water Region: Top, Middle, Bottom

   Spends time at the bottom of the aquarium.


   This fish is occasionally available.

Lastest Animal Stories on Marbled Cat Shark

Thefishkeeper - 2005-04-15
The sexual difference is easy to tell. Look at the "tags" around the anal...females have 2. I have a female who is beautiful, also do not feed them live food! trust me! Feeder fish are just swimming with disease, there is also no nutritional value, its the equivilent to popcorn. Feed frozen silversides, tiger shrimp, krill, and put some vita-chem on it. The life of your shark will be much longer!

  • Anthony - 2014-12-26
    This is for the maintenance definitely do not want to feed your shark gold fish!!
bamboo shark - 2013-04-01
can i put a juviniel bamboo shark in a 125 gallon tank tell i get money and get a 200 gallon

  • Jeremy Roche - 2013-04-01
    Yes you can but not too long!
Ryan - 2008-04-11
As far as sharks go, this is one of the best suited for captivity. It stays really small, 42 inches in the wild but in the aquarium it is much smaller, around 20 inches though this is highly dependent on the amount of feedings you give them. They can be kept succesfully in a 55 gallon aquarium but a 75 would be much better. If you want to grow him out bigger though you will need at least a 125 gallon. One other thing is that the babies are nocturnal and if you have a heavily decorated aquarium you run a rather high risk of your shark getting caught and drowning. The best way around this is to add decorations a little at a time and slowly get the shark used to bright lighting.

  • Troy - 2013-01-22
    I have a baby bannded cat shark right now in my 75, he's about a year old now and just over a foot long. He moves around great in there but is getting aggressive now here's what I was thinking. Instead of upgrading now which I can't afford to do at the time, is to trade him in for a baby marble. But what I want to clarify is that this guy (the marble) will only grow half the size of the bannded I have is this true? I have been looking around and I'm finding that most sites say that marbles become the same size maybe just a few inches shorter then that of its cousin the bannded. If this is so a marble would be a lot happier in there then the baby bannded.
wilberth - 2005-10-12

  • me - 2011-04-26
    That had to have been an experience to own white tail sharks as well the lemon sharks.