Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Mustelus canis, Dusky Smoothhound Shark, Smooth Dogfish, Smooth Dogfish Shark

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

eyes large, close
snout short
flank denticles: elongate, I point
C lower lobe rounded
lip furrows: top > bottom
teeth low, flat

Mustelus canis (Mitchill, 1815)

Smooth Dogfish, Dusky Smooth-hound Shark, Smooth Dogfish Shark

Elongate and slender, relatively flat on ventral surface; a low pointed skin ridge on midline of back; head flattened on top; snout relatively short (5-5.8% of TL); eyes oval, moderately large (2.2-2.4% of TL), close together, with longitudinal nictitating eyelid; spiracles small but prominent; space between nostrils broad, 2.7-3.6% of TL; mouth relatively broad, 4.7-6.8% of TL; labial furrows longer on upper jaw longer than lower, 1.6-2.7% of TL; teeth small, oval, low, in several rows in a mosaic or pavement pattern, cutting edges bluntly rounded; 5 gill slits, last two over pectoral fin; two dorsal fins, both with tips rounded, and deeply concave rear margins and acute rear corners, first dorsal higher than second, origin over back of pectoral base; anal fin origin under mid-point of second dorsal; pectoral fins broad; tail fin low, blunt tip, top lobe with a well developed sub-terminal notch, ventral lobe small, rounded; dermal denticles on flank elongate, single point.

Back olive or slaty grey, variable with substrate; belly yellowish or whitish grey; posterior margin of first dorsal fin whitish in young.

Size: 152 cm.

Habitat: dwells on bottom in coastal waters, generally on muddy bottoms.

Depth: 7-808 m.

Canada to Uruguay.

Note: Two subspecies are recognized, M. c. canis from the continental shore and M. c. insularis from the Greater and Lesser Antilles.

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  • Brackish
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom + water column
  • Near Bottom
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Water column
  • Estuary
  • Mud
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Mobile benthic worms
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Live birth
  • No pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Extends North of GC
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Near threatened
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 152
Depth Range Min
  • 7
Depth Range Max
  • 808