Smooth Dogfish

Mustelus canis

Picture of two smooth dogfish in a tank

Image by ‘anjanettew’ on Flickr, taken at Indianapolis Zoo, CC BY-SA 2.0

Physical: The smooth dogfish, also known as the dusky smooth-hound, is a species of shark. Their bodies are grey-brown in color and fade to a lighter shade toward the belly. They have two dorsal (back) fins and a notched caudal (tail) fin. They have large, oval, catlike eyes. Unlike other sharks, who have sharp teeth, smooth dogfish have flat teeth for grinding up shelled prey. Adults grow up to 5 ft (1.52 m).

Habitat: Smooth dogfish are seasonal migrants, so they only live in the Barnegat Bay for part of the year. Their range includes Massachusetts to Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and also from Brazil to Argentina in South America. They travel in small schools, and reside from shallow waters down to the continental shelf.

Feeding: Smooth dogfish are bottom feeders. They eat crustaceans (crabs, lobsters, shrimps), bony fish, squid, clams, gastropods, and worms.

Breeding: Mating season occurs from May to July. Females give birth to live young, after carrying them for 10-11 months. Litter sizes can range from 4-20 pups.

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