Shark Week Arrives Early at Maymont

Chain Catsharks Made Their Debut at the Nature Center on March 22

Maymont made a splash with its newest animal species when two chain catsharks, Scyliorhinus rotifer, who were introduced at The Robins Nature & Visitor Center on Thursday, March 22. The juvenile fish and 10 embryos still in their egg sacs (also called “mermaid’s purses”), will be the first sharks to live at Maymont.

This species is known for its striking patterned coloration that has a chain-like appearance, and they rarely grow to more than 18 inches in length. They are considered harmless to humans due to their small teeth and small prey preference. Chain catsharks are one of more than 200 fish species that produce bio-florescence, absorbing light and emitting it back out, or in simpler terms, they can glow in the dark (under the right circumstances)!

Catsharks live in the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean along the coast of Virginia. Maymont’s environmental educators will highlight the species in lessons about the James River and Chesapeake Bay watersheds and animal adaptations. The Nature Center also is home to lined seahorses, Hippocampus erectus, that live in the bay and American alligators, Alligator mississippiensis, which are found just south of the Virginia border.

The chain catsharks and egg sacs came to Maymont from the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News, Virginia. The exhibit was made possible by a generous grant from Tom Driscoll and Linda Singleton-Driscoll, who are long-standing volunteers at Maymont.

Starting on Thursday, March 22 at 10am, the public can see the sharks in the Nature Center during regular hours, Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-5pm. Admission to the Nature Center is $4 for adults and youth ages 13 and older; $3 for children ages 4 to 12 and seniors ages 60 and older.

The Robins Nature & Visitor Center at Maymont is located at 2201 Shields Lake Drive in Richmond, Virginia. For more information, call 804-358-7166, ext. 310 or visit