Guide to Shark Identification

Order Squaliformes Dogfish Sharks

Dogfishes are generally bottom-oriented inhabitants of the deep-sea and thus few species are likely to be encountered by divers.  All squaloids possess the following characteristics:

Family Squalidae Spiny Dogfish Sharks

Since only one species of spiny dogfish is regularly encountered by divers, for our purposes here, characteristics of the family Squalidae can be considered the same as for the squaloid order.

Spiny Dogfish (Squalus acanthias)

What to Look For:

Size:  average length 2 to 3 feet (60 to 100 centimetres); maximum 5.5 feet (160 centimetres)

Habitat:  Intertidal, Sandy Plains, Rocky Reefs, Deep Sea, Polar Seas

Distribution:  Arctic, ?Antarctic, Temperate Eastern Pacific, Tropical Eastern Pacific, Chilean, Argentinean, Western North Atlantic, Eastern North Atlantic / Mediterranean, Southern African, Southeast Asian, Southeastern Australian/New Zealand, Japanese

Ecological Profile of Spiny Dogfish


ReefQuest Centre for Shark Research
Text and illustrations R. Aidan Martin
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