Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis




Mustelus canis, or the smooth dogfish shark, is the second most common species of shark inhabiting the coastal waters of the Western Atlantic. However little is known about the behavior of this species in the wild and in captivity. In an attempt to establish some data on the behaviors of these animals, I observed a captive population of dogfish at the Indianapolis zoo. I quantified the activity level and distribution of the dogfish in various areas of the exhibit, as well as the frequency and durations of stationary ("resting'') behavior. I analyzed these results in the context of several factors, including time, location in tank, number of zoo patrons present, and day (feeding vs. non-feeding days). The results from these observations provide a set of baseline data on the behavior of the smooth dogfish sharks for use in future research, and to aid in providing an appropriate environment for this species in captivity.