Possibly the most abundant living shark (Ref. 247). An inshore and offshore dogfish of the continental and insular shelf and upper slopes (Ref. 247, 11230). Usually near the bottom, but also in midwater and at the surface (Ref. 26346); occurs mainly between 10-200 m depth (Ref. 247). Males and gravid females usually found shallower than non-gravid females. Tolerates brackish water, often found in enclosed bays and estuaries. Reported to enter freshwater (Ref. 11980) but cannot survive there for more than a few hours (Ref. 247). Highly migratory species, used to be observed in large foraging schools with up to thousands of individuals, usually segregated by size and /or sex, with schools of large gravid females preferentially targeted by fisheries. Their latitudinal (north-south) and depth-related (nearshore-offshore) movements appear to be correlated with their preferred temperature (Ref. 247). Tagging experiments showed that populations in the northern North Sea and northwest Scotland made winter migrations to off Norway and summer migrations to Scotland (Ref. 88880, 88881). Transoceanic migrations recorded, but rare (Ref. 88864). Longevity in the northern Atlantic is about 35-50 years (Ref. 88882), but most live only 20-24 years (Ref. 88187). Growth is slow. At sexual maturity, males are 60-70 cm long, females 75-90 cm (Ref. 35388). Gestation period is 2 years (Ref. 36731). Ovoviviparous (Ref. 205). The only species of horned sharks that can inflict toxins with its tail. Detects weak electric fields generated by potential prey (Ref. 10311). Utilized for human consumption, liver oil, vitamins, sand paper, leather, fertilizer, etc. (Ref. 247, 27436). Eaten fried, broiled, and baked (Ref. 9988).
- Compagno, L.J.V. 1984 FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 4. Sharks of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Part 1 - Hexanchiformes to Lamniformes. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(4/1):1-249. Rome: FAO. (Ref. 247)
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