UK Seas

Discover the wonderful sea creatures that inhabit the UK seas and shores

Know the name of the creature you are looking for?

UK seas is a guide to the fauna and flora found around UK coasts. While the majority of species are marine, some species are included that are regularly encountered on land by the coast, so you’ll find descriptions of non-marine species such as reptiles, amphibians, insects and plants as well.

Spiny dogfish

Squalus acanthias




The spiny dogfish gets its name from the two large ungrooved spines on each dorsal fin, which have venom glands at their base and are used primarily for defence. Female spiny dogfish mature at 12 years old, while males mature at 6 years old. Gestation is thought to be between 18 and 22 months, one of the longest recorded pregnancies for any vertebrate. Spiny dogfish give birth to a litter of live ‘pups’ numbering between 1 and 20, and measuring between 18 and 30cm.

Dogfish are also called: Spurdog, Spotted Dogfish, Piked Dogfish, Rock Salmon, White-spotted Dogfish. In the UK, they may be sold in fish and chip shops as ‘rock salmon’. If you see this on the menu, just say no!


Spiny dogfish are a temperate cosmopolitan species, distributed throughout the NE, NW and South Atlantic, the North Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea and the temperate Pacific Ocean.


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