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the web of life in southern Africa

Squalus acanthias (Piked dogfish)

Linnaeus, 1758

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Chondrichthyes > Elasmobranchii > Squalomorphii > Squaliformes > Squalidae

Squalus acanthias (Piked dogfish). [Illustration by Ann Hecht ]


A slim dogfish with white spots, a narrow, pointed snout, and the 1st dorsal spine behind the pectoral fins. Colour grey above, white below; occasional individuals lack spots.


To 1 m TL.


West coast from Port Nolloth to Cape Point, records from the eastern Cape and Natal require confirmation; most temperate seas.



Deep water from 124 to 515 m.


Bears 2 to 12 young. Eats bony fish, including hake, lightfish, dragonet, ribbonfish, redeye herring, and saury, and squid.

Human Impact

Commonly caught by commercial trawlers.

Text by Leonard J.V. Compagno, David A. Ebert and Malcolm J. Smale