Dusky smooth-hound

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Dusky smooth-hound
Mustelus canis noaa.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Subclass: Elasmobranchii
Superorder: Selachimorpha
Order: Carcharhiniformes
Family: Triakidae
Genus: Mustelus
Species: M. canis
Binomial name
Mustelus canis
(Mitchill, 1815)
Mustelus canis distmap.png
Range of the dusky smooth-hound

Allomycter dissutus Guitart Manday, 1972
Mustelus canis insularis Heemstra, 1997
Squalus canis Mitchill, 1815

The dusky smooth-hound or smooth dogfish (Mustelus canis) is a species of houndshark, and part of the family Triakidae.[1] This shark is an olive grey or brown in color, and may have shades of yellow or grayish white. Females live to 16 years and males have a lifespan of 10 years. Mustelus canis was the first shark recognised to have viral infections.[2]

Size and growth[edit]

Length for the dusky smooth-hound is up to 1.5 m (5.0 ft), with a maximum weight of 12 kg (27 lb). Dusky smooth-hound sharks reach maximum size at seven or eight years of age. Average size of this shark is around 1.2 m (4 ft). This species grows quickly, with males reaching maturity at two to three years of age, and females at four to five years of age.


A common resident in bays and other inshore waters, the dusky smooth-hound prefers shallow waters of less than 18 m (60 ft) in depth, but may be found to depths of 200 m (650 ft). This species has also been found on occasion in fresh water, although they are unlikely to survive fresh water for extended periods. The dusky smooth-hound migrates seasonally, moving north in the spring and south in the autumn. It is primarily a nocturnal species.


A scavenger and opportunistic predator, the dusky smooth-hound feeds primarily on large crustaceans, including lobsters, shrimp, and crabs, as well as small fish, mollusks, and small fish that have been injured. The flat, blunt teeth of the dogfish are used to crush and grind these prey items which have tough outer body coverings. Small fish that are preyed upon by the dusky smooth-hound include menhaden and tautog. Young dusky smooth-hounds feed on small shrimp, worms, and crabs.


Mating occurs throughout most of the dusky smooth-hound's range from May through July. Following a gestation period of 10 to 11 months, a litter numbering as few as four and as many as 20 is born during late spring or early summer. Larger females tend to have larger litters.

Importance to humans[edit]

In certain areas, the flesh of dusky smooth-hound is marketed as fresh or dried and salted for human consumption. The dusky smooth-hound is often used as a laboratory animal and in public display at aquaria.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Conrath, C. (2005). "Mustelus canis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 23 May 2014. 
  2. ^ L. Leibovitz & S. S. Lebouitz (1985). "A viral dermatitis of the smooth dogfish, Mustelus canis (Mitchill)". Journal of Fish Diseases 8 (3): 273–279. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2761.1985.tb00943.x. 

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