A Different Kind of Shark


Island Sentinel Marc Rosenberg took a great shot of a dusky smoothhound in shallow water off the Hay Harbor Club sailing dock in July.

The dusky smoothhound or smooth dogfish is a hound shark species. FIConservancy Naturalist Justine Kibbe reported seeing one last year and several in Hay Harbor, when she was a child.

Although these fish may appear menacing, they do not bite their food.

They differ from other sharks because their flat, blunt teeth are used to crush and grind food, like clams, marine worms and squid, rather than bite. They are relatively small and slender, about 48 inches long, but can reach up to five feet.

These fish are sometimes incorrectly labeled “sand sharks”, which are larger sharks also known as sand tiger sharks, grey nurse sharks or ragged tooth sharks. They are found worldwide in temperate and tropical waters, whereas the the dusky smoothhound is native to the entire Eastern Seaboard.