Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Squalus acanthias, Pike dogfish, Pike dogfish shark, Spiny dogfish shark, Spiny dogfish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

slender body, narrow head
snout long, pointed
D1 > D2; D1 spine < D2 spine
D1 low, behind pectoral
sides - white spots
pectorals - concave rear, round rear tip
C - no notch below top tip, deep notch between lobes

Squalus acanthias Linnaeus, 1758

Pike dogfish shark, Spiny dogfish

A slender cylindrical body; snout narrow, moderately long, pointed; eyes about midway between snout tip and gill slits, without nictitating membrane; moderate sized spiracles just behind eyes; nasal flaps short, slender, not reaching mouth, with a minute or no secondary lobe, inner corners of nostrils closer to snout tip than to mouth; teeth low and blade-like, similar sized on both jaws, with strongly oblique tips; 5 gill slits, all before pectorals; 2 dorsal fins with ungrooved spines (shorter spine on first dorsal), 2nd dorsal smaller than first; first dorsal low, origin behind pectorals; pectoral fin narrow, sickle-shaped, posterior margin slightly concave, inner posterior tip slightly rounded; no anal fin; center of base of pelvic fins much nearer to second dorsal fin than to first dorsal fin; tail base with a pair of keels and a strong pit above, no pit below; top tip of tail fin without a notch under top tip, rear edge with angular notch separating two lobes; skin denticles with a long thin central ridge flanked by a broad ridged wing on each side.

Color: grey above, white below; usually conspicuous white spots or bars on sides; dorsal fin edges dusky in juveniles, plain in adults.

Reaches 160 cm, possibly 200 cm.

Intertidal to 1446 m; from the surface to the bottom, usually near the bottom; often in bays and estuaries.

Antitropical in all 3 oceans; Greenland south along the Atlantic coast to Cuba.

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  • Marine
  • Brackish
  • Inshore
  • Offshore
  • In & Offshore
Water Column Position
  • Mid Water
  • Near Bottom
  • Bottom
  • Bottom + water column
  • Surface
  • Sand & gravel
  • Mud
  • Water column
  • Estuary
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
FishBase Habitat
  • Bentho-Pelagic
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Sponges/seasquirts/bryozoa
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
  • Pelagic jellyfish/ctenophores
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Bony fishes
  • Sharks/rays
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic worms
Egg Type
  • No pelagic larva
  • Live birth
  • Data
Global Endemism
  • Circumtropical ( Indian + Pacific + Atlantic Oceans)
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • All species.
Regional Endemism
  • Extends North of GC
  • Continental primarily
  • Extends South of GC
  • Continent
  • All species..
  • Island (s)
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Vulnerable
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 160
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 1446