Common smooth-hound

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Common smooth-hound
Mustelus mustelus1.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Subclass: Elasmobranchii
Superorder: Selachimorpha
Order: Carcharhiniformes
Family: Triakidae
Genus: Mustelus
Species: M. mustelus
Binomial name
Mustelus mustelus
(Linnaeus, 1758)
Mustelus mustelus distmap.png
Synonyms
  • Squalus mustelus Linnaeus, 1758

The common smooth-hound (Mustelus mustelus) is a houndshark of the family Triakidae. It is found in the eastern Atlantic Ocean from the British Isles to South Africa, and in the Mediterranean Sea, Madeira, and the Canary Islands at depths ranging from 5 m to 625 m (although they usually stay at depths between 5-50m). While they can grow to 200 cm, their usual maximum size is 150 cm. They commonly grow to 100–120 cm with a birth length around 35 cm. The reproduction of commons smooth-hounds is viviparous.

Morphology and behavior[edit]

The common smooth-hound has a grey-brown back and is white on its underneath. It is often confused with the starry smooth-hound which has white spots on its back. The starry smooth-hound can often have faded spots which leads to misidentification. Another shark it is often confused with is the tope shark although the common smooth hound has a larger second dorsal fin. Due to the similarities between the common smooth-hound and other sharks, misidentification occurred for a long time.

The common smooth-hound has two dorsal fins, an anal fin, a pair of pectoral fins, a pair of pelvic fins and a heterocercal tail. All of these fins help stabilise the shark but in males, the pelvic fins are modified to form claspers.

Like other smooth hounds, the common smooth hound will aggregate in large numbers, like a pack of dogs. This is why they are called hounds.

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