The Lesser Spotted Dogfish or Rough Hound, Scyliorhinus caniculus (Linnaeus), found on the strandline at Whiteford Sands, Gower. The photograph above illustrates the most important feature for distinguishing this species from the Large Spotted Dogfish or Nurse Hound, Scyliorhinus stellaris (Linnaeus).
In the Lesser Spotted Dogfish as shown above, the nasal flaps, the skin that extends from the nostrils down to the upper lip, describe a smooth continuous curved groove down to and along the lip line. In the larger Nurse Hound, the nasal flaps and nostril grooves turn away from the mouth and the outline is approximately W-shaped.
The Lesser Spotted Dogfish is cartilaginous rather than bony and very shark-like because it is related to that group of fish. You can see the small sharp teeth on the lower jaw; in fact, these are denticles in the skin rather than ‘proper’ teeth embedded in the jaw bone. The rough skin covering the whole animal contains thousands of similar but microscopically small versions of the teeth in the mouth.
The Lesser Spotted Dogfish grows upto 75 cm long compared with1.5 m long in the Nurse Hound. It is common and lives on sand or mud in shallow water. (The Nurse Hound likes rocky ground in shallow water). It is considered to be quite tasty (when fresh) and is the fish that used to be called ‘rock salmon’ and sold in fish and chip shops.
Finally, a view of the Lesser Spotted Dogfish showing the darker colouring of the upper and side surfaces with the characteristic spot markings.
For more information on the Nurse Hound see the information page on this blog.
Revision of a post first published 12 May 2009
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