A shark found around South Africa that typically has white spots

The Whitespot smoothhound (Mustelus palumbes) is a shark belonging to the family Triakidae. It is found on the continental shelves of the southeast Atlantic from Namibia around South Africa. They are a larger shark and are ovoviviparous.


Family: Triakidae – Houndsharks

Genus: Mustelus 

Species: palumbes


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles


Common NameGround Sharks

Family– Triakidae

Common NameHoundsharks




Average Size and Length: Mature males measure between 76-88 cm/2.5-2.8 feet, and mature females measure between 79-102 cm/2.5-3.3 feet. The maximum recorded was 120 cm/3.9 feet.

Teeth and Jaw: The teeth are pavement like with weak crowns and low cusps.

Head: The internarial space is broad.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Whitespot smoothhound can be found in the southeast Atlantic in the southwest Indian Ocean in Namibia, South Africa and southern Mozambique (17° S and 36° S). They are found on the continental shelf and upper slope from the intertidal zone to more than 1,181 feet (recorded at 1,444 feet) on the sand or gravel on the bottom. They are considered demersal.

Diet: They eat crustaceans such as crabs

Aesthetic Identification: The Whitespot smoothhound is a larger shark that is uniform grey to grey brown that typically have white spots. The dorsal fins are unfringed. The pectoral and pelvic fins are large (larger than those of the Starry smoothhound, Starspotted smoothhound and the Smoothhound). They are white in color ventrally.

Biology and Reproduction: They are ovoviviparous without a yolk-sac placenta having three to eight pups per litter.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Unknown.

Whitespot Smoothhound Future and Conservation: There is currently not enough data to evaluate. They seem to be common offshore. They are taken by sport anglers as bycatch and typically discarded. Development may be an issue for this species in the future.

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