Mustelus mustelus

Mustelus mustelus

Common smooth-hound
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Subclass: Elasmobranchii
Order: Carcharhiniformes
Family: Triakidae
Genus: Mustelus
Species: M. mustelus
Binomial name
Mustelus mustelus
(Linnaeus, 1758)
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The common smooth-hound, Mustelus mustelus, is a houndshark of the family Triakidae, found in the eastern Atlantic Ocean from the British Isles to South Africa, in the Mediterranean Sea, Madeira and the Canary Islands at depths of ranging from 5m to 625m (although they usually stay at depths of 5-50m). While they can grow to 200 cm, their usual maximum size is 150 cm. They commonly grow to 100–120 cm with a birth length around 35 cm. Reproduction is viviparous.

Morphology and behaviour

The common smooth-hound has a grey-brown back and is white on its underneath. It is often confused with the starry smooth-hound which has white spots on its back. The starry smooth-hound can often have faded spots which leads to misidentification. Another shark it is often confused with is the tope shark although the common smooth hound has a larger second dorsal fin. Due to the similarities between the common smooth-hound and other sharks, misidentification occurred for a long time.

The common smooth-hound has two dorsal fins, an anal fin, a pair of pectoral fins, a pair of pelvic fins and a heterocercal tail. All of these fins help stabilise the shark but in males, the pelvic fins are modified to form claspers.

Like other smooth hounds, the common smooth hound will aggregate in large numbers, like a pack of dogs. This is why they are called hounds.


  • Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2006). FishBase. May 2006 version.
  • Smooth Hound (MUSTELUS MUSTELUS) - European Federation of Sea Angling Records