This next shark goes by two common names: the “dusky smoothhound” or the “smooth dogfish.” But don’t worry, its scientific name, Mustelus canis, stays the same! As part of the Triakidae family, this species of houndshark is olive grey to brown in colour, splattered with yellow or grey-white shades throughout.
Females live longer than males, with 16 years against to their 10 years. They can get up to 1.5 m (5 ft) in length, with a maximum weight of 12 kg (27 lbs). Unlike some sharks, they are a fast-growing shark and the first shark to be recognized as having viral infections!
These sharks tend to be found in shallow, inshore waters of less than 18 m (60 ft), commonly seen in bays and estuaries. They aren’t just restricted to shallow water, however, observed in depths of up to 200 m (650 ft). #Finfact: This species has even been seen in fresh water (but probably doesn’t stick around for extended periods of time).
They are nocturnal scavengers, feeding on crustaceans, small fish and molluscs. Their teeth are flat, allowing for the grinding and crushing of said prey. When they are juveniles, they mainly feed on shrimp, worms and crabs. As they grow older, they seasonally migrate (north in the spring, south in the autumn).
These sharks have large litters, numbers varying from four to 20 pups after an 11 month gestation period. They mate from May through July, though this act has not been seen. You know what has been seen, though? These animals at an aquarium! Pop by your local one soon and see if this critter can be spotted there. The IUCN has assessed these animals as Near Threatened (NT).
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TFUI Founder Melissa C. Marquez is author of all animal bios and "Behind the Fins" segments.
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