The gray smooth-hound (Mustelus californicus) is a small, brown-grey shark with big eyes and a pointed snout. These sharks prefer the coastal waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean and are usually observed in bays and along rocky shores, sometimes schooling with leopard sharks (Triakis semifasciata).
On average, gray smooth-hounds measure 117 cm (46 in) long, although some females have been measured at a larger 162 cm (64 in). They have triangular fins with a lobed, asymmetrical caudal (tail) fin. Their genus name Mustelus is derived from the Latin "mustela" meaning weasel which may pay homage to their slender shape and that they are brownish-gray on top (which fades to a creamy underbelly). Californicus refers to where they are commonly found.
The primary prey items of the gray smooth-hound are ghost shrimp (Callianassa californiensis), inkeeper worms (Urechis caupo), cancrids, grapsids and other small fish. Like other sharks, they are both predator and prey, with potential predators including the dusky shark (Carcharhinus obscurus), blacktip shark (Carcharhinus limbatus) and great hammerhead (Sphyrna mokarran).
Gray smooth-hounds are viviparous; males and females become reproductively mature at 74 cm (29 in) and 60 cm (24 in), respectively. Mating most likely occurs off California, and gestation is around 10-11 months resulting in 2-5 pups that average 20-30 cm (8-12 in) in length. The IUCN notes that these animals are taken by commercial fisheries for human consumption, and that they are a gamefish. Currently, the IUCN has assessed these animals as Least Concern (LC).
what new #finfact did you learn?
you may also like:
TFUI Founder Melissa C. Marquez is author of all animal bios and "Behind the Fins" segments.
SEE MELISSA'S TEDx TALK HERE:
SEARCH BY CATEGORIES