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Hound Sharks. Triakidae species.
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page are copyright protected: © 2010 Kelvin Aitken.
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personal research only. Not for commercial use.
Genus: Furgaleus, Galeorhinus, Gogolia, Hemitriakis, Hypogaleus, Iago, Mustelus, Scylliogaleus,Triakis
Taxonomic name (of species shown): Mustelus antarcticus
Most members of the hound shark group are noted primarily for their commercial
value. This small harmless family bears most of the features of the more
renowned whaler sharks but they lack a notch in the front of the tail,
called a precaudal pit, and their internal anatomy is different in having
an intestine shaped like a spiral corkscrew, called a spiral intestinal
valve, as apposed to a scroll valve intestine which is shaped like a rolled
up newspaper. Size varies from 800 cm to 1700 cm with the main commercial
species occuring in inshore southern Australian waters and the lesser
known species found in deeper offshore tropical water. All have a varied
diet of small fish, squid, octopus and crabs.
The two most familiar hound shark species are the School Shark and the
Gummy Shark. Both species make long migrations across the southern coastline
with tagged gummy sharks being tracked from Tasmania to Western Australia
during the summer breeding season.
When adult, the slender130-180 cm School Shark (Galeorhinus galeus) has
a translucent nose and a beautiful large sculptured tail. Although found
throughout southern Australia, these sharks are rarely seen by divers
due to their timid nature: nearby fishermen may be pulling them in with
no underwater sightings by the divers at all. School Sharks live for over
55 years, with females producing 1550 pups every third year only
after reaching breeding maturity at 10 years of age. These factors make
this shark susceptible to overfishing and they have indeed become so.
The Gummy Shark (Mustelus antarcticus) has also been heavily fished and
is sold as 'flake'. It lives for about 1617 years, with females
over the age of five giving birth to an average of 14 pups. Despite its
name, the Gummy Shark does have small bluntly-pointed teeth which are
ideal for crushing its food which includes small fish, crabs and cephalopods
such as squid or octopus. While the Gummy and School Sharks are very similar
in shape and size, the former has a pattern of small white spots over
a bronze-grey back and a distinctive lateral line.