Barbeled Houndshark - Biology and Ecology

Biology and Ecology

The barbeled houndshark seems to be an active swimmer, based on its strong musculature, long tail, short trunk, and small liver. It feeds on a wide variety of bottom and shore-dwelling organisms. Crustaceans (including crabs, lobsters, and shrimp) are a favored prey item, while small bony fishes (including sardines, anchovies, snake eels, blennies, gobies, and flatfish), skate and flyingfish eggs, octopus, and sponges are also eaten; miscellaneous objects such as feathers, vegetable scraps, and flowers have also been recovered from its stomach. Known parasites of this species include the copepods Eudactylina leptochariae and Thamnocephalus cerebrinoxius.

The enlarged anterior teeth of male barbeled houndsharks may function in mating behaviors. This species is viviparous; once the embryos exhaust their supply of yolk, they are nourished through a placental connection formed from the depleted yolk sac. Unlike any other shark, the yolk-sac placenta is globular or spherical. Off Senegal, females bear litters of 7 pups around October, after a gestation period of at least four months. The largest fetuses on record measured 20 cm (7.9 in) long, which is presumably close to the birth size. Males reach sexual maturity at 55–60 cm (22–24 in) long, and females at 52–58 cm (20–23 in) long.

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