While working through the daily mise en place recently, a chef in Amsterdam found something rather surprising inside the body of a squid: an intact baby shark!

We tend to think of sharks as top predators, but as you can see here, they're not always at top of the food chain. While some reports have pegged this tiny chondrichthyan as a greater-spotted dogfish, to us it looks more like the more common (and closely related) lesser-spotted dogfish, also known as the small-spotted catshark.

Catsharks (family Scyliorhinidae) are a group of coastal sharks who spend their days cruising sandy and muddy seabeds in search of prey. Funnily enough, adult catsharks have been known to feed on squid and other small cephalopods, so this really is a case of the tables turning.  

It's possible that this baby shark was injured or sick, making it an easier target for the hungry squid, but because of its young age (likely only a couple of months old), it's not out of the question that the tentacled assailant could have nabbed it regardless. 

"At some point you have to put your whole hand inside the animal in order to pull out the entrails," explains chef Gina [translated from Dutch]. "Then I felt something at the very end. You'll get more things out of octopus – sardines or mackerel – but a shark I've really never seen!" 

Catsharks hatch from rectangular egg cases, colloquially known as mermaid's purses, which the mother will attach to seaweed or rocks will long, elastic threads. As they develop, the sharks must constantly wriggle to maintain a healthy flow of oxygenated water within the case. Just watch these babies in action:

Top header image: Mark Fox/Flickr