Common Smooth-hound

About the Common Smooth-hound

Common Smoothhound – Mustelus mustelus

Common Smoothhounds are sometimes confused with Starry Smoothhounds because of their appearance. They congregate in large numbers which is why they are called hound sharks.

Common smoothhounds are widespread in the waters off the coast of Northern Europe and South Africa including in the Mediterranean Sea. They are typically found in shallow waters from five m to 50 m below the surface of the water, but can also reach 350 m deep.

Biology and Behaviour

Common smoothhounds have a grey-brown back with and off-white underside and some will have dark spots. They are fairly slender with a short head and snout. They have two dorsal fins, an anal fin, a pair of pectoral fins, a pair of pelvic fins and a heterocercal tail. All these fins help stabilize the male shark.

Common smoothhounds primarily eat crustaceans and sometimes bony fish and cephalopods.

Reproduction and Lifespan

Common smoothhounds are viviparous. The females gives birth to live young pups after ten to eleven months of gestating. Their litter size ranges from four to 17, and pups at birth are about 35 cm long.

They usually grow between 100 cm to 120 cm, but females can reach a length of 164 cm.

Conservation and Tourism

Common smoothhounds are vulnerable captures in trawls, gillnets, trammel nets and line gears. Scientific survey data from the Mediterranean Sea and Western Africa indicate that the population for this species have declined.

Depending on the area of the world, common smoothhounds are caught and used for different purposes. In the Northeast Atlantic, they are sometimes caught and discarded and may be used as bait in England and Ireland. In the Mediterranean Sea, these sharks are used for human consumption. Sharks from the Eastern Central Atlantic are vulnerable to intensive fishing. In the Southeast Atlantic, common smoothhounds are both targeted and caught as bycatch.  

This species is listed as vulnerable by the IUCN, however, there are no conservation measures in place for them.

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Common Smooth-hound Gallery

Scientific NameMustelus mustelus
OrderGround Sharks - Carcharhiniformes
CitesNot Listed
Litter Size17
SpeciesMustelus mustelus
Common Length100 - 120 cm
Max Lenght164 cm
Depth Range5 - 350 m
DistributionNortheast Atlantic, Southeast Atlantic, Western Indian Ocean, Eastern Central Atlantic, Mediterranean and Black Sea
EnvironmentDemersal, Marine