Creature Feature: Brown Smoothhound

 Brown Smoothound

Continuing our look into sharks from the Northwest Coast of North America, we turn our attention to the Brown Smoothhound (Mustelus Henlei). This is another local shark that is located in the San Francisco Bay. They will be found on the floor of the Bay in schools of other smoothhounds, as well as leopard sharks and spiny dogfish. Still they can also be found swimming solo. These beautiful and docile sharks are brown with an iridescent sheen, giving them a copper colorization on the top and white-silver on the underside. Their head is short with a long snout. What I find most appealing are their eyes, which are most majestic! The eyes are oval shape with a cat-like golden color. The teeth are small and asymmetrical helping them feed on small invertebrates and fish (remember our knife-and-fork comparison?).

BSH birth copyThis shark, like the leopard shark from the January 7th creature feature, is ovoviviparous. There can be 1-10 pups in a litter and they reach maturity level at around 2-3 years old. Brown Smoothhounds can reach a size of 3.2 feet when full grown and can live to 15 years. The small size of this sharks makes it a great meal for 7-gill sharks (check out lasts week’s post to learn all about 7-gills).

These species are not listed as endangered or vulnerable on the World Conservation Union (IUCN). People will typically catch brown smoothhounds while sport fishing or for recreation, but smoothhounds do not bring in big money.  They are not fished commercially and are most often caught in bycatch.

Check back next week to learn about another shark found in the Northwest Coast of North America.

Edited by KC O’Shea
Photography: MSI photo library


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