A commonly misidentified shark

The Blackspot smoothhound (Mustelus punctulatus) is a shark belonging to the family Triakidae found on the continental shelves of the subtropical eastern Atlantic from the Mediterranean to the Western Sahara. They are often misidentified as the Common smoothhound.


Family: Triakidae – Houndsharks

Genus: Mustelus 

Species: punctulatus


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles


Common NameGround Sharks

Family– Triakidae

Common NameHoundsharks




Average Size and Length: Born around 31 cm/1 foot. Mature males measure between 50-55 cm/1.6-1.8 feet and mature females around 60 cm/1.9 feet. The maximum recorded is over 95 cm/3.1 feet.

Teeth and Jaw: The upper labial furrows are somewhat longer than the lower labial furrows. The teeth are pavement like and are low crowned with weak cusps.

Head: The head is narrow, and the head and snout are short. It is narrow internarial. The eyes are large with spiracles behind them.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Blackspot smoothhound can be found in the East Atlantic in the western Sahara, Mediterranean (45 and 20°N). They can be found inshore on the continental shelf on the bottom more than likely down to about 820 feet. They are subtropical demersal.

Diet: They more than likely eat crustaceans.

Aesthetic Identification: The Blackspot smoothhound is somewhat small and slender. It is usually grey in color with black spots, and lighter ventrally. The dorsal fins are prominently fringed. The Blackspot smoothhound is often misidentified as the Smoothhound.

Biology and Reproduction: There is little known about their biology, but presumably viviparous. Some parasites have been found on/in this shark. Triloculotrema euzeti is a monocotylid monogenean parasite within the nasal tissues, which was described in 2016 from sharks caught off Tunisia.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Unknown.

Blackspot Smoothhound Future and Conservation: There is currently not enough data to evaluate. They are more than likely fished for food but could be recorded as the Smoothhound.

Blackspot Smoothhound Recorded Attacks on Humans: Not a threat to humans.