Smoothhound, Common

by David Proudfoot

Mustelus mustelus

species ID common smoothhound

Photo courtesy of Henry

Distinguishing features

The smoothhound has a typical, slender shark body with two dorsal fins and five gill slits. The lower lobe of the tail fin is comparatively small. The dermal denticles are narrow with grooves at the thick end only. The back and sides are grey with occasional dark spots on the back and the belly is an off white. The mouth has small, flattened crushing teeth. There is a spiracle behind each eye. The nasal flaps are broad.

It is generally accepted that there is only one species of smoothhounds around the UK coastline and that is the starry. A paper on DNA studies of the smoothhounds can be veiwed at –


The smooth hound grows to a length of around 1.5 metres and a weight of 24kg.

British Record Fish List

UK Shore Record: 20lb 3oz 0dms / 9.157kg
UK Boat Record: 28lb 0oz 0dms / 12.700kg

European Line Class Record for this species


Found mainly in water from 5 – 50 metres in waters from south of the UK down to the Mediterranean. It prefers a seabed of mixed ground with sand, gravel and boulders.


Feeds almost exclusively on crustaceans including crabs, hermit crabs, shrimps and squat lobster.


Crabs, peeler and hardbacks are excellent baits for smoothhounds as are hermit crabs when removed from their shells. Squid will also take this species as will ragworm and cocktail baits.

Facebook Comments Box

You may also like

Leave a Comment

I accept the Privacy Policy

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.