Dusky smooth-hound

Dusky smooth-hound
Dusky smooth-hound
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Subclass: Elasmobranchii
Order: Carcharhiniformes
Family: Triakidae
Genus: Mustelus
Species: M. canis
Binomial name
Mustelus canis
(Mitchill, 1815)
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 hound shark, family Triakidae. This shark is an olive grey or brown, and may have shades of yellow or grayish white. Females live to 16 years and males have a life span of 10 years. Mustelus canis was the first shark recognised to have viral infection.[1]


Size and growth

Length for the dusky smooth-hound is up to 1.5 m (60 inches), with a maximum weight of 12 kg (27 lb). Dusky smooth-hound reach maximum size at 7 or 8 years of age. Average size of this shark is approximately 1.2 m (48 in). This species grows quickly, with males reaching maturity at 2 or 3 years of age, and females at 4 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 freshwater although it is unlikely they can survive freshwater for extended periods of time. 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-hound feed on small shrimps, worms, and crabs.


Mating occurs throughout most of the dusky smooth-hound's range from May through July. Following a gestation period of approximately 10 to 11 months, a litter numbering as few as 4 and as many as 20 is born during late spring or early summer. Larger females tend to have larger litters.

Importance to humans

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

See also


  1. ^ 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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