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.
Fisheries, N. (n.d.). Striped Smoothhound Shark. Retrieved November 10, 2020, from https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/species/striped-smoothhound-shark
Mustelus fasciatus summary page. (n.d.). Retrieved November 10, 2020, from https://www.fishbase.de/summary/Mustelus-fasciatus.html
Striped Smooth-hound. (n.d.). Retrieved November 10, 2020, from https://www.sharkwater.com/shark-database/sharks/striped-smooth-hound/
Cover image courtesy of NOAA