Humpback Smooth-hound

About the Humpback Smooth-hound

Humpback Smoothhounds are coloured grey or grey-brown and can be found in the Southeast Pacific Ocean off the coast of Ecuador and Chile.

Their depth ranges from 16 m to 211 m, but they will typically be found between 70 m to 100 m.

Biology and Behaviour:

Humpback smoothhounds are small sharks with a sturdy body with a moderately long, broad sharp-angled snout and large eyes that are set widely apart. Their mouth is fairly long and the upper lip furrows are longer than the lower ones.

The first dorsal fin is triangular-shaped and the trailing edge is fringed with bare, dark coloured collagen rods known as ceratotrichia. Their pectoral fins are large and the pelvic fin moderately large too. The caudal fin is short and the lower lobe of the tail fin is barely curved for adults.

Humpback smoothhounds are offshore bottom-dwellers that prefer a rocky bottom near islands. They feed on crabs, mantis shrimp and small bony fish.

Reproduction and Lifespan:

Humpback smoothhounds are viviparous. Their litter sizes range from five to ten pups that are 25 cm long at birth.

Females mature at 74 cm to 87 cm. Humpback smoothhounds can reach at least 87 cm in length, but the recorded maximum length was 95 cm. The smallest male recorded was 68 cm long.

Conservation and Tourism

The Peruvian tollo fishery is the main threat to humpback smoothhound shark population. For over 30 years, the fishery had strong productivity but has presumably depleted the surrounding population of sharks in the area.

Landings of tollo were high for a 24-year period between 1966 to 1989 which averaged of 11,276 t per year. But from 1990 to 2004, a substantial decrease was seen in landings to an average of 4,806 t.

The fishery currently operates, but at a lower production than before. There is a minimum size limit in place to protect only young humpback smoothhounds.

The IUCN lists humpback smoothhound as vulnerable. A Peruvian legal regulation was put in place in 2001 that established the minimum catch size for humpback smoothhound is 60 cm long.

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Humpback Smooth-hound Gallery

Scientific NameMustelus whitneyi
OrderGround Sharks - Carcharhiniformes
CitesNot Listed
Litter Size5-10
SpeciesMustelus whitneyi
Common Length87 cm
Max Lenght95 cm
Depth Range16 - 211 m
DistributionSoutheast Pacific
EnvironmentDemersal, Marine