IT'S A DOG'S LIFE
About the spiny dogfish
asbury Park Press staff photo Dave May
A member of the shark family, the spiny dogfish gets its name from the spines in front of each dorsal fin. They received the name dogfish from fishermen who noted they hunt for other fish in packs, similar to dogs.
Size: They average 3 to 4 feet in length. The females are larger than the males.
Lifespan: 25 to 50 years or more
Diet: Fish of any type, including other sharks
Reproduction: Dogfish are ovoviviparous, meaning they produce eggs that are hatched within the body, but the young are born alive. Females become sexually mature at about 16 years old and bear litters of anywhere from two to 15 pups that are 8 to 12 inches long. They have the
longest gestation of any invertebrate, lasting 18 to 24 months.
Other characteristics: They travel alone, in small groups or in schools, and prefer water that is between 45 degrees and 59 degrees Fahrenheit. They are mostly bottom-dwellers, and can be found as far as 400 fathoms -- 2,400 feet -- beneath the surface.
Sources: www.enchantedlearning.com; www.elasmodiver.com;
NOAA's Northeast Fisheries Science