Gray Smoothhound

Common Name: Gray Smoothhound
Scientific Name: Mustelus californicus


The body of the gray smoothhound is elongate, slender, tapering from behind the dorsal fin to a long slender tail. The snout is comparatively long and flattened. The color is brown to dark gray above and whitish below. The gray smoothhound can be distinguished from other smoothhounds by scales present on the posterior one-fifth of the dorsal fin and the teeth having sharp points.


This species occurs from Mazatlan, Mexico, to Cape Mendocino, California; and is found in shallow waters to depths of 150 feet.

Natural History

The diet of the gray smoothhound includes crabs, shrimp and small fishes. The female bears the young alive.

Fishing Information

Although the gray smoothhound is of relatively minor importance to sport anglers, it is commonly taken in the surf. It is edible, but not as tasty as the brown smoothhound. If you're fishing in southern California, you are most likely to catch a gray, and in central California, you are most likely to catch a brown smoothhound.

Other Common Names

shark, dogfish, paloma, sand shark, gray shark

Largest Recorded

5 feet 4.25 inches; no weight recorded


Shallow Sandy Environment