Striped Smoothhound

The striped smoothhound is a kind of smoothhound shark with a large head, small eyes and pointed snout. They are mostly greyish brown and white, with vertical dark bars across the upper head and body that give them their name. These are more distinctive in juveniles and newborns. Striped smoothhounds eat crustaceans, especially box crabs, fish, and mollusk. They are found at the seafloor in the continental shelf. During the winter, smoothhounds can be found off the coast of southern Brazil, but in the summer some migrate to the waters of Uruguay and Argentina. Some remain in the Brazilian waters throughout the summer.

During the period of October to December, female smoothhounds move to shallower waters to give birth to 4-14 pups. Pups and juveniles live in shallow water 1-4 meters deep, compared to adults, who usually live from between the surface of the water to 624 meters, usually around 50 meters.
Striped smoothhounds grow to 150 centimeters and up to 24 years old.


Map of the Striped Smoothhound's range. Image courtesy of Esri, HERE, Garmin, FAO, NOAA, USGS

The main reason the striped smoothhound shark is endangered is fishing pressure. This particularly impacts juvenile and pups. Because the fisheries are mostly found in shallow waters, they mostly catch juveniles and pregnant females, which can severely damage the shark’s population. They are mostly caught by commercial and artisanal fisheries accidentally by bycatch, where smoothhound sharks are not the intended target. The target is usually other species of smoothhound sharks, or other animals such as drums, flounders and mullets. They are listed under the Endangered Species Act by NOAA. The IUCN lists it as critically endangered.

true-wildlife-ishikawa's frog-3-1.jpg

Image courtesy of NOAA.

Map of the Striped Smoothhound's range. Image courtesy of Esri, HERE, Garmin, FAO, NOAA, USGS

Protecting the habitat where striped smoothhounds live will also protect other species of smoothhound sharks that live in the same area and are targeted by fisheries. It also protects other animals. Many animals are endangered because of overfishing or bycatch, so creating and implementing more sustainable ways of fishing will help thousands of aquatic animals across the oceans.

Many people are designing new technology that works to keep unintended animals out of fisheries. You can also support endangered species laws protecting endangered animals. Bycatch is an issue that threatens many animals, so you can tell people about bycatch and how it effects the striped smoothhound shark and other animals.

Works Cited

Fisheries, N. (n.d.). Striped Smoothhound Shark. Retrieved November 10, 2020, from

Mustelus fasciatus summary page. (n.d.). Retrieved November 10, 2020, from

Striped Smooth-hound. (n.d.). Retrieved November 10, 2020, from

Cover image courtesy of NOAA