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the web of life in southern Africa

Squalus megalops (Shortnose Spiny Dogfish)

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

Squalus megalops (Shortnose Spiny Dogfish) [Illustration by Anne  Hecht ]

Identification

 A small dogfish with a short, angular snout and a mouth almost as wide as the snout is long; body without spots; 1 st dorsal fin spine over pectoral fins. Colour bronze-grey above, white below; dorsal fins with black tips and white edges but markings inconspicuous in adults.

Size

Up to 71 cm TL.

Range

Entire coast from Namibia to northern Nata!; elsewhere, temperate and tropical Atlantic, and Indian and western Pacific oceans.

 

Habitat

Close inshore to upper slope at 450 m depth; often near the bottom; young mostly pelagic off outer shelf.

 

Biology

Extremely common, in vast schools. Feeds on small bony fish, shrimp, crabs, mantis shrimp, octopus, squid and worms. Bears 2 to 4 young.

 

Human impact

 

Taken by trawlers and sports anglers in great numbers. Potentially valuable as food.

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