Smoothhound, Starry

by David Proudfoot

Mustelus asterias

species ID starry smoothhound

Distinguishing features

The starry smoothhound is closely related to the smoothhound and resembles it closely. The lower lobe on the tail is larger than its relative and the denticles are broad with grooves along their length. The nasal flaps are narrow. The coloration is the same as the smooth hound but it has small white spots on the upper sides which gives the fish its distinguishing name.

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 starrysmooth hound grows to a length of around 1.8 metres and can weigh 13 kg.

British Record Fish List

UK Shore Record: 23lb 2oz 0dms / 10.488kg
UK Boat Record: 28lb 2oz 0dms / 12.757kg
European Line Class Record for this species

Found mainly in water to 70 metres deep in waters from the southern reaches of the UK down to the Mediterranean and up into the southern North Sea up to Danish waters. It prefers a seabed of sand and gravel.


The crushing teeth are capable of smashing the shells or hermit crabs and these together with other crustaceans form the major part of their diet.


As for smoothhounds, crabs, peeler and hardbacks, and hermit crabs are effective baits. Squid will also take this species as will ragworm and cocktail baits.

species ID starry smoothhound

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