Gray Smoothhound

Mustelus californicus

Chondrichthyes: Triakidae

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Illustrated Specimen: 292 mm; grows to 1100 mm.

Identifying Characters: A small gray shark with nasal flaps, third eyelid, spiracle, labial grooves, anal fin and no dorsal spine; the second dorsal fin is one-half or more the size of the first dorsal fin; teeth are blunt and small, grinding plates.

Related Species: Might be confused with the Brown Smoothhound, Triakis henlei, which has small points on the teeth.

Coloration: Back bluish-gray becoming white on lower one-third of side; belly creamy white; pectoral fins gray below with white bases; dorsal portion of pectoral fins brown distally becoming dark gray near the body; eye blue with a black vertical pupil; pelvic fins gray distally, creamy becoming gray ventrally; caudal lobes light gray, white medially, second dorsal fin light gray to brown with upper lobe dark gray; anal fin light gray pale edge.

Remarks: Found frequently in the Upper Bay, usually in back water areas as the Newport Dunes Park, Big Canyon Beach, or in the water ski area; they are usually less than 500 mm long; females give birth to living young and supply intrauterine nutrition, true viviparity.

Range: Northern Mexico to Northern California. From Fishes of the Upper Newport Bay (Bane, G.W.). Museum of Systematic Biology, University of California, Irvine.