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 Spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias)

  Index
> Photo
> Range Map
> Systematics
> Name
> Appearance
> Coloration
> Distribution
> Biology
> Feeding
> Size
> Reproduction
> Similar Species
> Endangerment
> Danger to Humans

 Photo

Spiny dogfish
© Jeremy Stafford Deitsch
 Range Map

Earth Map


 Systematics

Phylum: Vertebates (Chordata)

Class: Carlilagenous Fishes (Chondrichthyes)
  Order: Dogfish sharks (Squaliformes)
    Family: Dogfish sharks (Squalidae)
      Genus: Squalus (Squalus)


 Name

Scientific: Squalus acanthias
German: Dornhai
English: Spiny dogfish, Piked dogfish
French: Aiguillat commun
Spanish: Mielga


 Appearance

Small shark with two dorsal fins with ungrooved large spines. No anal fin. First dorsal spine origin is behind the pectoral rear tips. Lateral keels on caudal peduncle and upper precaudal pit. No subterminal notch on the caudal fin. No anal fin.

 Coloration

Grey-brown upper body with whitish ventral surface. White spots along entire body.

 Distribution

Western Atlantic: Greenland, Labrador to Florida, Argentina. Eastern Atlantic: Iceland, Scandinavia, Great Britain to Morocco and western Sahara. Canary Islands. Mediterranean and Black Sea. Around South Africa, Western Pacific: Bering Sea to Japan, Sea of Okhots, Korea and northern China, southern Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand. Eastern Pacific: Bering Sea to southern Baja California, Chile.

 Biology

A well studied species. This is probably the most abundant shark species of all. Lives preferably close to bottom. Slow swimming. Found over the continental and insular shelves and upper slopes down to approximately 900 m. This species can tolerate brackish water and is often found in enclosed bays and estuaries.

 Feeding

Feeds mainly on fishes, preferably schooling fishes, invertebrates, cephalopods, crustaceans, and even sea cucumbers and jellyfishes.

 Size

Relatively small, average size between 80 cm and 110 cm, total maximum length about 160 cm.

 Reproduction

Aplacental viviparous (ovoviviparous). Up to 20 pups per litter. Size at birth about 20 cm. Gestation period lasts about 22 months. Sexual maturity is reached at an age of about 20 years (sometimes even later) or a size of about 60 cm. Maximum age is estimated to be around 70 years.

 Similar Species

Some similar species but none with white spots.

 Endangerment

Status in the IUCN Red List(1994):

Main criterion: > LR/nt (Low Risk/Near Threatened (1994))
Sub criterion:
Trend: Unknown


 Danger to Humans

Harmless.



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