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Bull huss

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Common name: Bull huss (nurse hound, smooth hound, greater spotted dogfish)

Latin name: Scyliorhinus stellaris

Record weight: The largest member of the dogfish family found in British waters. The record bull huss boat record is 22lb 4oz and the shore record is 19lb 14oz.

Distribution: Primarily found around the South coast of the country with scattered populations elsewhere. Mainly found over rocky seabeds and broken ground where the mottled appearance of the huss blends in to the background.

Features: Larger than the lesser spotted dogfish when adult, but otherwise similar in appearance. The dorsal fin is further forward than on the lsd, but the best distinguishing feature is the nasal flaps. In the bull huss the nasal flaps (a flap of skin between the nasal openings on the snout and the mouth) form two distinct lobes, whereas the lsd has a single lobe.

Diet: Fees upon molluscs, crustaceans and small flatfish. Generally considered to be more discerning than the lsd, but this may be because they are generally less abundant. Will take most fresh prey that are locally abundant.

Spawning: Bull huss mate in the Autumn. Fertilisation is internal with the male passing a bundle of sperm to the female. The eggs develop internally for several weeks before the female lays the egg capsules in shallow water close to shore. The egg capsules, commonly known as mermaids purses, have long sticky tendrils in each corner that attach it to the sea bed. The huss embryos develop inside the egg case for around 8 months slowly growing using the large yolk sac as their sole source of nutrition. When they hatch the young huss are almost perfect miniatures of the adults, measuring around 10cm in length. The fish begin feeding almost immediately and form large schools in shallow water during the Summer months.


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