Small shark that partially segregates by sex

The Smalleye smoothhound (Mustelus higmani) is a shark belonging to the family Triakidae. It is found on the continental shelves of the western Atlantic. It can be found from the surface to deep depths. Like its name, the Smalleye smoothhound has small eyes that are widely separated. They partially segregate by sex.


Family: Triakidae – Houndsharks

Genus: Mustelus 

Species: higmani


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles


Common NameGround Sharks

Family– Triakidae

Common NameHoundsharks




Average Size and Length: They are born between 21-24 cm/8.2-9.4 inches. Mature males have been measured at 43 cm/1.4 feet, and females at 48 cm/1.5 feet. The maximum recorded has been 64 cm/ 2 feet.

Teeth and Jaw: The teeth are fairly low and cusped that are pavement like.

Head: The snout is long and acutely pointed. The nostrils are widely spaced. The eyes are very small and widely separated.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Smalleye smoothhound can be found in the tropical west Atlantic in the northern Gulf of Mexico to Brazil (11° N and 36° S). They can be found on the continental shelf and upper slope close inshore to far offshore of about 427 feet on mud, sand, and shell seabed off South America and deep off the continental slope at least 4,203 feet in the Gulf of Mexico. They are also found in brackish water and are considered demersal.

Diet: They feed mainly on crustacea and occasionally on bony fish and squid.

Aesthetic Identification: The Smalleye smoothhound is a small shark that is plain greyish brown in color dorsally, and lighter ventrally. The dorsal fins are unfringed and falcate. The second dorsal fin is almost as long as the first dorsal fin.

Biology and Reproduction: They are viviparous, with yolk-sac placenta, having one to seven pups per litter, but typically three to five.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Partial sexual segregation does occur.

Smalleye Smoothhound Future and Conservation: They are currently of least concern. Locally they are common and abundant, and it is unknown their importance to fisheries.

Smalleye Smoothhound Recorded Attacks on Humans: Not a threat to humans.