Small-eye Pygmy Shark

About the Small-eye Pygmy Shark

The Smalleye Pygmy Shark is a little-known species of dogfish in the family Dalatiidae, found near the waters of Japan, The Philippines, and Australia.

Biology and Description:

The Smalleye Pygmy shark is shaped like a cigar and has a bulbous, pointed snout. The eyes are relatively small, with a diameter measuring 43-66% as long as the snout. The nostrils lack substantially expanded skin flaps in front. The mouth is almost transverse and bears thin lips, there are 20-27 upper tooth rows and 18-23 lower tooth rows. The two Squaliolus species are the only two sharks to have a spine in the first dorsal fin, but not on the second one. The spine is usually exposed in males and cover by the skin in females. The pectoral fins are short with rounded margins. The pelvic fins are low and small. There is no anal fin and the caudal peduncle is thin and bears slight lateral keels, in males this part is longer than the abdomen. The caudal fins are broad and triangular, with nearly symmetrical upper and lower lobes. This species is brown to black colour, becoming lighter towards the fin margins, while the underside is covered by light-producing photophores. This species feeds mainly on midwater squid, krill, shrimps, and small bony fishes. Reproduction is aplacental viviparous, with the young being born at 10 cm long. Males attain sexual maturity at around 15 cm long. This species reaches a maximum recorded size of 22 cm TL, making it one of the smallest sharks in the world.


The Smalleye Pygmy shark appears to be widely distributed, but by patches, around the world. This species has been reported in the Western Pacific from Japan, the Philippines, and northern and eastern Australia. This shark is epipelagic, mesopelagic, and bathypelagic over continental slopes and near land masses. Individuals are thought to make daily migrations from shallow waters (<150m) at night to deeper waters (2,00m m) during the day.


Because of its size, the Smalleye Pygmy shark is thought to be too small to be captured by fisheries, however, this species is used as bycatch in bottom trawl fisheries in the western Pacific. There are currently no conservation measures in place for this species.  

Do you have images or videos of Small-eye Pygmy Sharks?
Submit them to [email protected].

Scientific Name Squaliolus aliae
OrderDog and Angelfish Sharks - Squaliformes
CitesNot Listed
IUCNLeast Concern
Litter Size Unknown
Common Length 22.0 cm
Max LenghtNA
Depth Range 200 - 2000 m