Striped Smooth-hound

About the Striped Smooth-hound

Mustelus fasciatus has two common names: Striped Dogfish and Striped Smooth-hound. They have a small range in the inner continental shelf of southern Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina in the Southwest Atlantic Ocean.

Biology and Behaviour:

Striped smooth-hound sharks swim at low-density waters over a small area. Their depth ranges from the just under the surface of the water to 624 m, but they typically swim around 50 m.

Striped smooth-hounds are coloured grey or brown-grey and sometimes black-spotted with a white underside. They have a relatively long snout and a flattened head. Their back is brown with narrow transverse bands of darker separated spaces. Striped smooth-hounds have a yellow spot in front of each eye, and their fins are dark with narrow edgings that are lighter.

They feed mainly on crustaceans such as shrimps and crabs.

Reproduction and Lifespan:

Striped smooth-hound sharks are ovoviviparous. Pregnant females migrate toward shallow waters to give birth between October and December. There are about four to 17 pups in a litter. At birth, the pups can be 39 cm long, and they remain in the shallow waters.

Striped smooth-hounds can grow to a length of 150 cm. Females mature at 111 cm long, while males mature at 120 cm. The oldest reported age was 24 years.

Conservation and Tourism:

Habitats of striped smooth-hound sharks are heavily fished in southern Brazil. Fisheries in the nursery area for these sharks catch pregnant females when they migrate near the shore.

In the 1980s, newly born sharks were caught in large numbers in gillnets off the beach, but by 2003,  the number of sharks caught drastically decreased. The decline in newborn striped smooth-hound sharks is a clear indication that they are nearing extinction in Brazilian waters.

In Brazil, trawl fishing at depths of less than 10 m is illegal, but enforcement of this law is lacking since trawling in the nursery area for Striped Smooth-hound sharks is met without almost any restrictions.

All these factors considered, the IUCN lists the Striped Smooth-hound shark as critically endangered.

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Striped Smooth-hound Gallery

Scientific NameMustelus fasciatus
OrderGround Sharks - Carcharhiniformes
CitesNot Listed
IUCNCritically Endangered
Litter Size17
SpeciesMustelus fasciatus
Common Length70.0 cm
Max Lenght110 cm
Depth Range1 - 250 m
DistributionSouthwest Atlantic
EnvironmentDemersal, Marine