Spiny Dogfish Shark
This shark species is unusual in two major ways. First, it is one of only two species to have a sharp, venomous spine directly in front of its dorsal fins (the other species to come equipped with this unusual defense mechanism is the Horn Shark, which are not native to Oregon). The Spiny Dogfish are identified by their small size, with mature males rarely exceeding 3 feet (0.91 m) in length. Females can grow larger with a maximum length of approximately 5 feet (1.52 m). Unlike other sharks, the Spiny Dogfish has no anal fin and a prominent white spot on its back.
Spiny Dogfish are widely dispersed throughout the Pacific Ocean, often attacking and eating in schools that may include thousands of individuals. Like other sharks, they are opportunistic hunters but due to their relatively small size, they prefer to feed on smaller fish, krill, squid and octopus.
Range & Habitat
Spiny Dogfish live from the intertidal zone down to at least 3,000 feet (915 meters) but are comfortable in both sunlit shallows and dark ocean canyons. They are very abundant off the coast of British Columbia and Washington, but can be found as far south as Chile.