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smooth dogfish Smooth dogfish

SMOOTH DOGFISH

Mustelus canis

SIZE

To about 5 ft (1.5 m).

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS

  • Fin spines absent
  • Dorsal spots absent
  • First and second dorsal fins nearly equal in size; second dorsal fin much larger that anal fin
  • Teeth pavementlike, noncutting
  • Eyes large, oval-shaped, catlike; prominent spiracle behind eyes
  • Color olive-gray to brown above, yellowish- or grayish-white below
  • Interdorsal ridge

DISTRIBUTION

Massachusetts to Florida, including Gulf of Mexico, possibly Caribbean Sea. Uncommon north of Massachusetts.

HABITAT

Coastal; bays and nearshore waters, usually <60 ft (18 m) but down to 660 ft (200 m) or deeper; primarily near or on bottom.

SIMILAR SPECIES

Spiny dogfish has white spots, dorsal spines; lacks anal fin. Atlantic Sharpnose shark has white spots on back and sides.

MORE INFORMATION

Ichthyology at the Florida Museum of Natural History


Guide to Sharks, Tunas, & Billfishes of the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.

Text descriptions taken from:
Guide to Sharks, Tunas, & Billfishes
of the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico

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(File Modified Aug. 08 2017)