Mustelus canis

(Mitchill, 1815)

Dusky smooth-hound
Classification: Elasmobranchii Carcharhiniformes Triakidae

Reference of the original description
Mitchill, S.L. (1815)
The fishes of New York described and arranged. Transactions of the Literary and Philosophical Society of New York, 1, 355–492

Image of the original description
No image in first description.

Synonyms / new combinations and misspellings
Allomycter dissutus, Cynais canis, Cynias canis, Mustelus canis canis, Mustelus canis insularis, Squalus canis

Description :

Citation: Mustelus canis (Mitchill, 1815): In: Database of modern sharks, rays and chimaeras,, World Wide Web electronic publication, Version 03/2024

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Mustelus canis (Mitchill, 1815), © FAO,
Common names
deu \(T\) Glatthai, deu \(T\) Punktierter Glatthai, spa Boca blanca, spa Boca dulce, spa Caella, spa Cazón, spa Cazón dientón, spa Gatuzo, spa Mozuela, spa Musola, spa Musola dentuda, spa Mustela, spa Palomo, spa Tolla, spa Viuda, spa Viuda dientuda, spa tiburoncito narigón, fra \(T\) Chien de mer gris et roux, fra \(T\) Emissole douce, fra \(T\) Estella, fra \(T\) Palloun, fra \(T\) Émissole, fra \(T\) Émissole lisse, eng Atlantic smooth dogfish, eng Dogfish, eng Dusky Smoothhound, eng Dusky smooth hound, eng Dusky smooth-hound, eng Grayfish, eng Nurse shark, eng Smooth dog, eng Smooth dogfish, eng Smooth hound, eng Smoothhound, por Bico doce, por Bodinho, por Canejo, por Cação, por Cação cachorro, por Cação-angolista, por Cação-bico-doce, por Cação-de-bico-doce, por Cação-fiúso, por Cação-fiúzo, por Cação-sebastião, por Cação-torrador, por João-dias, por Sebastiao, por Tolo, por Tubarão Angolista

Short Description
Diagnosis after Compagno, 1984 [517]: Body fairly slender. Head short, prepectoral length 17 to 21% of total length; snout moderately long and bluntly angular in lateral view, preoral snout 5.5 to 8.1% of total length, preorbital snout 5.9 to 8.3% of total length; internarial space broad, 2.7 to 3.7% of total length; eyes fairly large, eye length 1.9 to 2.3 times in preorbital snout and 2.2 to 4.2% of total length; interorbital space narrow, 3.6 to 4.6% of total length; mouth fairly short, subequal to or slightly longer than eye length, its length 2.3 to 3.5% of total length; upper labial furrows slightly longer than lowers, upper furrows 1.6 to 2.7% of total length; teeth molariform and asymmetric, with cusp reduced to a low point, cusplets absent except in very young sharks; buccopharyngeal denticles confined to tongue and anteriormost part of palate. Interdorsal space 16 to 23% of total length; pelvic fins moderately large, anterior margin length 6.6 to 8.6% of total length; trailing edges of dorsal fins denticulate, without bare ceratotrichia; first dorsal somewhat falcate, with nearly vertical posterior margin, midbase closer to pectoral bases than to pelvics; pectoral fins moderately large, length of anterior margin's 11 to 16% of total length, width of posterior margins 8 to 14% of total length; anal height 2.5 to 4.5% of total length; anal caudal space greater or subequal to second dorsal height, 6.3 to 9.2% of total length; ventral caudal lobe not falcate but somewhat expanded in adults. Crowns of lateral trunk denticles lanceolate, with longitudinal ridges extending at least half their length, and often their entire length. Skeleton not hypercalcified in adults; palatoquadrates not subdivided; monospondylous precaudal centra 34 to 42, diplospondylous precaudal centra 48 to 60, precaudal centra 85 to 100. Colour uniform grey above, light below, no white or dark spots or dark bars, but newborn young with dusky-tipped dorsal and caudal fins. Development viviparous. Size large, adults 82 to 150) cm.

Western Atlantic: Massachusetts to Florida (USA), northern and western Gulf of Mexico, Venezuela, Cuba, Jamaica, Barbados, Bermuda, Bahamas; southern Brazil to northern Argentina; also western Gulf of Mexico and Antilles [17659]. Northwest Atlantic: Canada (Ref. 5951). Allopatric with Mustelus mustelus and sympatric with Mustelus norrisi. One of the two new allopatric species of canis- norrisi-like smooth-hounds in this region is often confused with this species [517]. The subspecies Mustelus canis insularis, occurring at several Caribbean islands, was identified by Heemstra [1103]. Source:

Human uses
fisheries: commercial; gamefish: yes

Viviparous [20077] [20240] [733], with a yolk-sac placenta; with 4 to 20 young per litter. Distinct pairing with embrace [17086]. Found on continental and insular shelves and upper slopes, ranging from shallow inshore waters and the intertidal to 200 m, occasionally down to 579 m [517]. Occasionally found in freshwater. It is doubtful that this species can live in fresh water for an extended period of time [517]. Feeds on large crustaceans, mainly crabs, but also heavily on lobsters (Homarus) [517]. Probably non-territorial. Off the Atlantic coast of the USA, this species is migratory [517].

Size / Weight / Age
150 cm TL (male/unsexed; [517]); max. published weight: 12.2 kg (Ref. 40637)

demersal; oceanodromous [17660]; brackish; marine; depth range ? - 800 m [13336], usually 18 - 200 m (Ref. 55309)

shark-references Species-ID=3784;

Parasites (arranged by Jürgen Pollerspöck)
  • Calicotyle palombi Euzet & Williams, 1960 [17436]
  • Erpocotyle catenulata (Guberlet, 1933) [22563]
  • Hexabothrium musteli (Maccallum, 1931) Price, 1942 [22561] [17205]

  • Achtheinus dentatus Wilson, 1911 [27172]
  • Achtheinus oblongus Wilson, 1908 [15303]
  • Alebion glaber Wilson, 1905 [7760]
  • Alebion gracilis Wilson, 1905 [14785]
  • Eudactylina valei Nunes-Ruivo, 1956 [15303]
  • Pandarus sinuatus Say, 1818 [7760]
  • Tripaphylus versicolor (Wilson, 1919) [25960]

  • Nerocila fluviatilis Schioedte & Meinert, 1883 [23898]
  • Nerocila munda Harger, 1873 [23898]