Mustelus californicus

Gill, 1864

Grey smooth-hound
Classification: Elasmobranchii Carcharhiniformes Triakidae

Reference of the original description
Gill, T. (1864)
Second contribution to the Selachology of California. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 16, 147–151

Image of the original description
No image in first description.

Synonyms / new combinations and misspellings
Galeorhinus californicus, Galeus californicus

Mustelus californicus
Holotype: XXXX: No types known;

Description :

Citation: Mustelus californicus Gill, 1864: In: Database of modern sharks, rays and chimaeras,, World Wide Web electronic publication, Version 07/2024

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Mustelus californicus Gill, 1864, ERB 1246, male, 62, 4 TL, California, USA © Frederik Mollen, Elasmobranch Research, Belgium
Common names
spa Cazón gris, spa Cazón mamón, spa Musola gris, spa Musola gris de California, fra \(T\) Emissole grise, eng Gray smooth hound, eng Gray smoothhound, eng Grey smooth-hound

Short Description
Diagnosis after Compagno, 1984 [517]: Body fairly slender. Head short, prepectoral length 16 to 20% of total length; snout moderately long and bluntly angular in lateral view, preoral snout 5 to 7.2% of total length, preorbital snout 6.1 to 8% of total length; internarial space broad, 2.1 to 2.9% of total length; eyes fairly small, eye length 2.5 to 3.4 times in preorbital snout and 1.9 to 3.3% of total length; interorbital space narrow, 3.5 to 4.5% of total length; mouth short, subequal to eye length, its length 2.3 to 3.3% of total length; upper labial furrows usually equal to lowers, upper furrows 0.9 to 1.8% of total length; teeth molariform and asymmetric, with cusp reduced to a low point, cusplets absent; condition of buccopharyngeal denticles unknown. Interdorsal space 17 to 21% of total length; trailing edges of dorsal fins denticulate, without bare ceratotrichia; first dorsal broadly triangular to semifalcate with posteroventrally sloping or nearly vertical posterior margin, its midbase closer to pelvic bases than to pectorals; pectoral fins moderate-sized, length of their anterior margins 12 to 15% of total length, width of posterior margins 7.4 to 12% of total length; pelvic fins moderate-sized, length of anterior margins 7.1 to 9.2% of total length; anal height 2.3 to 3.7% of total length; anal-caudal space greater than second dorsal height, 5.9 to 8.6% of total length; ventral caudal lobe not falcate or somewhat falcate in adults. Crowns of lateral trunk denticles lanceolate, longitudinal ridges absent or extending about half of their entire length. Skeleton not hypercalcified in adults; palatine processes of palatoquadrates subdivided at symphysis, with a short separate medial segment on each side; monospondylous precaudal centra 32 to 40, diplospondylous precaudal centra 52 to 61, precaudal centra 89 to 98. Colour uniform grey above, light below, no white or dark spots or dark bars. Development viviparous. Size large, adults 57 to 124 cm.

Eastern Pacific: northern California, USA to the Gulf of California. At the southern part of its range, this species is sympatric with Mustelus lunulatus, but the two are readily distinguishable. Source:

Human uses
fisheries: commercial; gamefish: yes

Size / Weight / Age
116 cm TL (male/unsexed; [517]); 124 cm TL (female); max. reported age: 9 years (Ref. 6098)

demersal; marine; depth range 0 - 200 m (Ref. 55308), usually 2 - 46 m (Ref. 55308)

shark-references Species-ID=3783;

Parasites (arranged by Jürgen Pollerspöck)
  • Chloromyxum ovatum Jameson, 1929 [23380]

  • Dollfusiella litocephalus (Heinz & Dailey, 1974) Beveridge, Neifar & Euzet, 2004 [16323] [16112]
  • Dollfusiella macrotrachelus (Heinz & Dailey, 1974) Beveridge, Neifar & Euzet, 2004 [16323] [16112]
  • Lacistorhynchus dollfusi Beveridge & Sakanari, 1987 [16112]
  • Symcallio pellucidum (Riser, 1955) [16383] [16201] [21796]

  • Ptychogonimus megastomum (Rudolphi, 1819) [23771]