S. Acanthias, Linn. Syst. Nat. torn. i. p. 397. Block, Ichth. pl. 85. Don. Brit. Fish. vol. iv. pl. 82. Turt. Brit. Faun. p. 114. Blmnv. Faun. Franc, p. 57. Cuv. Reg. An. torn. ii. p. 392. Galeus Acanthias sive Spinax, Will. Hist. Pise. p. 56. tab. B. 5. f. I. Spinax Acanthias, Flem. Brit. An. p. 166. Picked Dog-Fish, Penn. Brit. Zool. vol. iii. p. 100. Picked Shark, Id. (Edit. 1812). vol. iii. p. 133.
From three to three and a half, sometimes four, feet.
(Form). General form much resembling that of the & Must el us: body moderately elongated: head depressed; snout long, conical, obtuse at the extremity: nostrils beneath, more remote from the mouth than in the S.Mustelus, partly covered by a minute cutaneous tiap: jaws bent: teeth in two rows, small, sharp, the edges cutting and not denticulated, bending from the middle each way towards the corners of the mouth, the points short and inclining backwards: eyes large, oblong: temporal orifices large, round, placed higher than in the S. Mustelus: branchial openings five in number, small, a little decreasing in size from the first to the last; placed in a line with the base of the pectorals, the last opening being immediately in advance of those fins: skin very rough when rubbed from tail to head, but nearly smooth in the opposite direction: lateral line tolerably well-defined, straight: two dorsals; in form and situation much as in the S. Mustelus, but before each a sharp strong spine; the spine of the second stronger and longer than that of the first: caudal unequally forked, the upper lobe projecting far beyond the lower: no anal: pectorals broad, triangular, cut square behind, reaching when laid back to a vertical line from the spine of the first dorsal: ventrals a little behind the middle of the entire length, much smaller than the pectorals, obliquely truncated. (Colours). Of a uniform reddish gray, or grayish brown above; whitish beneath. The young, according to Bloch and Cuvier, are spotted with white.
A common species on all parts of the British coast. Is very voracious, preying on other fish. Ovoviviparous.
Syst. Nat. torn. i. p. 398. Stew. El. of Nat. Hist, vol.i. p. 319. Blainv. Faun. Franc, p. 60. Nilss. Prod. Ichth. Scand. p. 118. Acanthias Spinax, Riss. Hist. Nat. de l'Eur. Merid. torn. iii. p. 132.
This species is marked as British by Stewart, in both Editions of his "Elements of Natural History," but on what authority he does not mention. It is not noticed, that I am aware, by any other of our English authors. Said to be distinguished from the last, which it closely resembles, principally by the abdomen being nearly black, and the nostrils at the extremity of the snout. According to Nilsson, it is the smallest species in the genus, not exceeding a length of sixteen inches. It is found in the Northern seas, as well as in the Mediterranean.
(8. SCYMNUS, CUV).