Hound Shark Family – Triakidae
The fish of the Hound Shark or Triakidae Family are known in Mexico’s fishing areas as cazones. The family includes the hound sharks, the smoothhound sharks, and the tope sharks with thirty-six global species placed in nine genera. They are found globally in tropical and temperate seas.
The Hound Sharks are small (37 cm or 1.2 feet) to mid-sized (2.2 meters or 7.2 feet) fish. They have traditional shark colors being generally grayish-brown dorsally and transitioning to white ventrally. Their bodies are slender to moderately stout. They have long pointed snouts with horizontal oval eyes located high on the sides of the head with lower eyelids, small spiracles, a long and angular arched mouth that reaches past the front edge of the eyes, and numerous small teeth. They have five gill slits the last two being over the pectoral fin base. They have no barbels. Their anal fin is smaller than or equal in size to their second dorsal fin. Their caudal fin is strongly asymmetrical with the lower lobe being absent to strong. They have two dorsal fins, the first being much shorter than the caudal fin and having its base before the pectoral fins and anteriorly to the pelvic fins, and the second being large, but smaller than the first dorsal fin and originating before the anal fin.
The Hound Sharks are bottom dwellers found from coastal shallow waters to depths in excess of 2,000 meters (6,600 feet). They are generally more active at night feeding on cephalopods, crustaceans, and fish. Reproduction is ovoviviparous or viviparous.
The Hound Sharks are fairly abundant in shallow waters and caught with some regularity by commercial fishermen with gill nets, by sports fishermen with hook and line, and by spear fishermen. They are considered a quality food fish but with the current ban on sharks in Mexican waters they are a “catch and release”. Globally they are sold fresh, frozen, smoked or dried-salted and are also components of shark fin soup and used to produce liver oil and fish meal. The Leopard Shark, Triakis semifasciata, is a common component of large public aquariums but has not been included herein due to a lack of quality photos. They are not considered dangerous to humans.
There are seven members of the Hound Shark or Triakidae Family represented in the fish identification section of this website, all from the Pacific:
Brown Smoothhound, Mustelus henlei
Florida Smoothhound, Mustelus norrisi
Gray Smoothhound, Mustelus californicus
Leopard Shark, Triakis semifasciata
Sicklefin Smoothhound, Mustelus lunulatus
Tope, Galeorhinus galeus
Whitemargin Smoothhound, Mustelus albipinnis