Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Mustelus higmani, Smalleye smooth-hound, Smalleye smooth-hound shark

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

eyes small, well separated
snout long, pointed
D2 almost size of D1
C lower lobe small, pointed
lip furrows: top ~ bottom
teeth pointed
3-pointed denticles on flank

Mustelus higmani Springer & Lowe, 1963

Smalleye smooth-hound shark

Elongate slender body, moderately flat on bottom; a low pointed skin ridge on top along midline; head flattened on top, snout pointed, moderately long (6.9-9.6% of TL); eyes oval, very small, widely separated, eye diameter 2.2-3.4% of TL, with longitudinal nictitating eyelid; spiracles small; nostrils widely separated, distance between them 2.7-3.8% of TL; mouth relatively broad, labial furrows about equal in length on both jaws; teeth small, low, oval, in rows of mosaic or pavement pattern, cutting edges blunty pointed; 5 gill slits, last two above pectoral fin; first dorsal fin a little higher than large second dorsal, both fins slightly pointed at tip, deep concave posterior margin and sharply pointed rear tip on both; anal fin under middle of second dorsal; pectoral fins short, broad, rear margin slightly concave; tail base compressed laterally, no keel or pits; tail fin very low, truncate tip, large subterminal notch, ventral lobe small, pointed; dermal denticles on flank generally three-pointed.

Back and upper sides grey with golden to brassy reflections, belly whitish.

Size: 65 cm.

Habitat: Bottom dwelling in coastal waters to edge of continental shelf, down to middle slopes, generally on mud, sand and shell bottoms.

Depth: 5-1463 m.

S Caribbean to Brazil.


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  • Marine
  • Brackish
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Near Bottom
  • Bottom
  • Bottom + water column
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Estuary
  • Soft bottom only
  • Mangrove
  • Sand & gravel
  • Mud
  • Water column
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Live birth
  • No pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Island (s)
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends South of GC
  • Continent
  • Also in Brazil
  • GC non-endemic
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Least concern
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 65
Depth Range Min
  • 5
Depth Range Max
  • 1463