Dusky Smooth-hound

About the Dusky Smooth-hound

The dusky smooth-hound is a ground shark found in the western Atlantic and have become commercially important in this region. There has been a rapid increase in directed gillnet fishing resulting in the decline of their populations, but there is no defined protection for this species.

Mustelus Canis is found in the western Atlantic from Massachusetts to Florida, USA, northern Gulf of Mexico, Cuba, Jamaica, Barbados, Bermuda, Bahamas and southern Brazil to northern Argentina. They inhabit continental and insular shelves and upper slopes and are found in inshore waters down to 200 m deep. Their population is discrete as they are separated by large geographical areas and they have little movement between populations.

Dusky Smooth-hounds go up to a maximum size of 150 cm. These species are viviparous and have the litter size of 4-20 but averaging 10-20 per litter. The reproductive cycle differs from region to region. The north Atlantic population has a yearly seasonal reproductive cycle and the mating season occurring from mid to late summer. 10 months being the gestation period with parturition occurring from early May to mid July.

Females reach maturity at about 102 cm and males at about 84 cm. The Mid-Atlantic Bight estuaries serve as critical nursery grounds for Dusky Smooth-hound. The pups measure around 28-39 cm at birth. They undergo a seasonal migration due to changes in water temperature.

They possess low, flattened teeth specialised for crushing crustacean prey. Their diet also consists of squids, small bony fish, gastropods, marine annelid worms and sometimes garbage.

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Scientific Name Mustelus canis
OrderGround Sharks - Carcharhiniformes
CitesNot Listed
IUCNNear Threatened
Litter Size 4-20
Common Length 150 cm
Max LenghtNA
Depth Range 0 - 800 m
DistributionWestern Central Atlantic, Northwest Atlantic, Southwest Atlantic