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Sandbar Shark

Mustelus canis

FAMILY: Triakidae

ALSO KNOWN AS: Smoothhound, dogfish, dusky smoothhound

CONSERVATION STATUS: Near threatened (worldwide)

RANGE: Range extends from Canada to Argentina

LENGTH: Up to 100 cm (approx. 3 feet) total length

WEIGHT: 6.8 kg (15 lbs)

Illustration ©Marc Dando

Photograph ©Wix Stock


RANGE: Range extends from Canada to Argentina, although reports should be scrutinized to avoid confusion with the Florida smoothhound, Mustelus norrisi. In Western North Atlantic, it is rare in the Bay of Fundy, but becomes seasonably abundant from Cape Cod to South Carolina. Often found in Long Island Sound.

HABITAT: Enters the surf zone and is also encountered offshore. Often encountered 0 to 200 m in depth, but reports do indicate a vertical range down to 800 m.


IUCN Blue Shark Range_edited.png

IDENTIFICATION: Slender body. Second dorsal fin larger than the anal fin. Spiracle visible behind the eye. Lower lobe of the caudal fin is rounded. Teeth are numerous, small, and have blunted cusps (not pointy). Brown to olive-brown dorsal coloration. Grey to white underside.

INTERESTING FACTSViviparous species (gives birth to live young). Feeds on small fishes, shrimp, and benthic invertebrates, such as crabs and worms. In Western North Atlantic, the species seasonally migrates closer to shore and northward in the summer. Often kept in public aquaria and taken as bycatch in gillnet fisheries.


Near threatened; currently no minimum size or bag limit.

Citation: IUCN

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