Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

An oceanic, wide-ranging, tropical pelagic species occurring near continental and insular land masses, sometimes over the shelves, but usually over the slopes (Ref. 247). Displays vertical migrations on a diel cycle, seen at the bottom during the day and travels to 200 m at night (Ref. 247). Feeds on deepwater squid, lanternfish, gonostomatids and idiacanthids, and probably follows its prey on their diel migrations (Ref. 247). Ovoviviparous (Ref. 205). Has well-developed photophores densely covering the ventral part of the body and sparsely seen on the sides and hardly developed on the dorsal surface (Ref. 247).
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Distribution

Scotian shelf to southern Brazil
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Range Description

A widespread oceanic species recorded from many warm-temperate and tropical regions. Range will likely increase as further specimens are recognized. Not recorded from Australian waters, but given its nearly circumtropical distribution, may be recorded there in the future (Kyne et al. 2005).
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Nearly circumtropical. Western Atlantic: off Bermuda, southern Brazil, and northern Argentina. Eastern Atlantic: off France and Madeira. Western Indian Ocean: off Somalia. Western Pacific: Japan, Taiwan and Philippines (Ref. 13748), as well as Australia (Ref. 7300).
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Circumglobal.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Dorsal spines (total): 1; Dorsal soft rays (total): 0; Analspines: 0; Analsoft rays: 0
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Size

Maximum size: 220 mm TL
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Max. size

22.0 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 247)); 25 cm TL (female)
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Diagnostic Description

Description

A wide-ranging, tropical epipelagic species occurring near continental and island land masses. Feeds on deepwater squid, lanternfish, gonostomatids and idiacanthids, and probably follows its prey on their diel migrations. Probably ovoviviparous. Has well-developed photopores densely covering the ventral part of the body and sparsely seen on the sides. Displays vertical migrations on a diel cycle, seen at the bottom during the day and travels to 200 m at night.
  • Anon. (1996). FishBase 96 [CD-ROM]. ICLARM: Los Baños, Philippines. 1 cd-rom pp.
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The spined pygmy shark Squaliolus laticaudus is a very small dogfish (about 25cm) with a large eye (diameter 73-86% of interorbital width), upper margin nearly straight; upper lip without papillae (Ref. 31367, 6871). Color: dark with conspicuously light-margined fins (Ref. 247) . Edge of fins with bright border (Ref. 43998). S. laticaudus is the type species of the genus which has the following distinctive features: fin spine on its first dorsal fin but not on its second dorsal fin; second dorsal fin long-based and low, about twice the length of first dorsal fin base; first dorsal-fin base closer to pectoral fins than to pelvic fins; and caudal fin nearly symmetrical, paddle-shaped, with subterminal notch present; low lateral keels on caudal peduncle . Body cigar-shaped; snout very long, bulbously conical but slightly pointed; mouth ventral; lips thin; teeth strongly different in both jaws, uppers small, narrow and erect cusps, lowers larger, blade-like and semi erect. Tooth rows 22-23/16-21. (Ref. 247, 6871).
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Type Information

Paratype for Squaliolus laticaudus Smith & Radcliffe
Catalog Number: USNM 76679
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Fishes
Year Collected: 1907
Locality: Phillipine Islands, Philippines, Pacific
Vessel: Albatross
  • Paratype: Smith, H. M. 1912. Proceedings of the United States National Museum. 41 (1877): 684, pls. 50, 54; fig. 4.
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Type for Squaliolus laticaudus Smith & Radcliffe
Catalog Number: USNM 70259
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Fishes
Preparation: Photograph; Illustration
Locality: Sta. 5268, Batangas B., Luzon, Luzon, Philippines, Pacific
Vessel: Albatross
  • Type: Smith, H. M. 1912. Proceedings of the United States National Museum. 41 (1877): 684, pls. 50, 54; fig. 4.
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Ecology

Habitat

nektonic
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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occurs at depths of 200 - 1200m
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
An oceanic species, occurring near landmasses and apparently avoiding central ocean basins. Primarily found over the continental slope at 200–500 m, but can also occur over continental shelves. Avoids the surface. Vertically migrates on a diel cycle from depth during the day to about 200 m at night, probably related to prey movement (Compagno in prep. a).

Little known of its biology, although it is suspected to be yolksac viviparous. Litter size unknown but 12 well-developed eggs have been found in the ovary of a mature female (ovarian fecundity does not always accurately represent actual fecundity and Squaliolus spp. probably have a small litter size) (Compagno in prep. a).

This is one of the world’s smallest shark species, reaching a maximum size of 27.5 cm TL (Compagno in prep. a).

Life history parameters
Age at maturity (years): Unknown.
Size at maturity (total length): Female: 17–20 cm TL; Male: 15 cm TL.
Longevity (years): Unknown.
Maximum size (total length): 27.5 cm TL.
Size at birth: <9 cm TL (smallest specimen reported by Sasaki and Uyeno 1987)..
Average reproductive age (years): Unknown.
Gestation time (months): Unknown.
Reproductive periodicity: Unknown.
Average annual fecundity or litter size: Unknown.
Annual rate of population increase: Unknown.
Natural mortality: Unknown.

Systems
  • Marine
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Environment

bathypelagic; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); marine; depth range 200 - 1200 m (Ref. 27000)
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Depth range based on 15 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 9 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 200 - 2000
  Temperature range (°C): 3.262 - 16.466
  Nitrate (umol/L): 5.677 - 28.512
  Salinity (PPS): 34.470 - 35.729
  Oxygen (ml/l): 1.589 - 5.078
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.463 - 1.932
  Silicate (umol/l): 5.611 - 51.206

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 200 - 2000

Temperature range (°C): 3.262 - 16.466

Nitrate (umol/L): 5.677 - 28.512

Salinity (PPS): 34.470 - 35.729

Oxygen (ml/l): 1.589 - 5.078

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.463 - 1.932

Silicate (umol/l): 5.611 - 51.206
 
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Depth: 200 - 1200m.
From 200 to 1200 meters.

Habitat: bathypelagic. A wide-ranging, tropical epipelagic species occurring near continental and island land masses. Feeds on deepwater squid, lanternfish, gonostomatids and idiacanthids, and probably follows its prey on their diel migrations. Probably ovoviviparous. Has well-developed photopores densely covering the ventral part of the body and sparsely seen on the sides. Displays vertical migrations on a diel cycle, seen at the bottom during the day and travels to 200 m at night.
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Migration

Oceanodromous. Migrating within oceans typically between spawning and different feeding areas, as tunas do. Migrations should be cyclical and predictable and cover more than 100 km.
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Trophic Strategy

An oceanic, wide-ranging, tropical pelagic species occurring near continental and insular land masses, sometimes over the shelves, but usually over the slopes . Displays vertical migrations on a diel cycle, seen at the bottom during the day and travels to 200 m at night. Feeds on deepwater squid, lanternfish, gonostomatids and idiacanthids, and probably follows its prey on their diel migrations.
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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Diet

Feeds on deepwater squid, lanternfish, gonostomatids and idiacanthids
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Life Cycle

Probably ovoviviparous. Twelve mature eggs have been found in a single ovary of a mature female but this does not imply that large litters are produced (Ref. 247). Distinct pairing with embrace (Ref. 205).
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Squaliolus laticaudus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2006

Assessor/s
Kyne, P.M. & Burgess, G.H.

Reviewer/s
Heupel, M.R., Simpfendorfer, C.A. & Cavanagh, R.D. (Shark Red List Authority)

Contributor/s

Justification
Squaliolus laticaudus is one of the world’s smallest sharks reaching a maximum size of 27.5 cm total length. Oceanic, with a widespread warm-temperate and tropical distribution, occurring near land masses generally over continental slopes and avoiding central ocean basins. Little is known of its biology but it is known to undertake diel vertical migrations from depth (~500 m) to ~200 m probably related to prey movements. An absence of identifiable threats (irregularly taken by fisheries due to its small size) and its widespread distribution justifies an assessment of Least Concern.
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Population

Population
No knowledge of stock structure or population size. Compagno (in prep. a) reports that Squaliolus species may occur in aggregations as well as single individuals.

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
This species is generally too small to be captured in fisheries and there are no identifiable threats to the species. Specimens have been irregularly taken as bycatch in commercial trawl fisheries, i.e., deepwater shrimp in Suruga Bay, Japan (Abe 1962).
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Least Concern (LC)
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
No specific conservation requirements, although distribution needs to be better defined with the collection and documentation of further specimens during oceanic survey work. Research into life history is also required.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: of no interest
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Wikipedia

Spined pygmy shark

The spined pygmy shark (Squaliolus laticaudus) is a species of dogfish shark in the family Dalatiidae found widely in all oceans. Growing no larger than approximately 28 cm (11 in), it is one of the smallest sharks alive, with this record beaten by the dwarf lanternshark. This shark has a slender, cigar-shaped body with a sizable conical snout, a long but low second dorsal fin, and an almost symmetrical caudal fin. It and its sister species S. aliae are the only sharks with a spine on the first dorsal fin and not the second. Spined pygmy sharks are dark brown to black, with numerous bioluminescent organs called photophores on their ventral surface. The shark is believed to use these photophores to match ambient light conditions, which break up its silhouette and help the shark to avoid being seen by predators.

Usually inhabiting nutrient-rich waters over upper continental and insular slopes, the spined pygmy shark feeds on small bony fishes and squid. Like its prey it is a diel vertical migrator, spending the day at close to 500 m (1,600 ft) deep and moving towards a depth of 200 m (660 ft) at night. Reproduction is presumably aplacental viviparous, with female giving birth to litters of 4 pups. This diminutive shark has no economic value. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has assessed this species as of Least Concern, as it faces little threat from commercial fisheries and has a wide distribution.

Taxonomy and phylogeny[edit]

The spined pygmy shark was one of many new species discovered during the course of the 1907–1910 Philippine Expedition of the U.S. Fish Commission Steamer Albatross. It was described by American ichthyologists Hugh McCormick Smith and Lewis Radcliffe in a 1912 paper for the scientific journal Proceedings of the United States National Museum, based on two specimens collected in Batangas Bay, south of Luzon in the Philippines. One of these, a 15 cm (5.9 in) long adult male, was designated the type specimen.[2][3]

Smith and Radcliffe coined the new genus Squaliolus for this shark, and gave it the specific epithet laticaudus, from the Latin latus meaning "broad" or "wide", and cauda meaning "tail".[4] The spined pygmy shark may also be referred to as the dwarf shark or the bigeye dwarf shark.[1][5] Based on similarities in their claspers (male intromittent organs), the closest relative of the spined pygmy shark and the related S. aliae is thought to be the pygmy shark (Euprotomicrus bispinatus).[6]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The spined pygmy shark has a wide distribution around the world. In the Atlantic Ocean, it occurs off Bermuda, the United States, Suriname, southern Brazil, and northern Argentina in the west, and off northern France, Madeira, Cape Verde, and the Azores in the east. In the Indian Ocean, this species has only been recorded off Somalia. In the Pacific Ocean, it is found off southern Japan, Taiwan, and the Philippines.[1][6] The spined pygmy shark is found at depths of 200–500 m (660–1,640 ft) and seldom approaches the surface, unlike the related pygmy shark and cookiecutter shark (Isistius brasiliensis). This shark prefers areas of high biological productivity over upper continental and insular slopes. It may also be found over outer shelves, but avoids central ocean basins. The range of this species does not overlap that of the pygmy shark, which has a similar ecology, and is also largely separate from that of the cookiecutter shark.[6]

Description[edit]

The spined pygmy shark has a long snout, large eyes, and a spine on the first dorsal fin but not the second.

One of the world's smallest sharks, the spined pygmy shark attains a maximum recorded length of 22 cm (8.7 in) for males and 28 cm (11 in) for females.[7] This species has an elongated, spindle-shaped body with a long, bulbous, moderately pointed snout. The eyes are large, with the upper rim of the orbit almost straight. Each nostril is preceded by a short flap of skin. The mouth has thin, smooth lips and contains 22–31 tooth rows in the upper jaw and 16–21 tooth rows in the lower jaw. The upper teeth are narrow and smooth-edged with single upright cusps. The bases of the lower teeth are broad and interlocked to form a continuous cutting surface, with each tooth bearing a single upright, smooth-edged, knife-like cusp. The openings of the five pairs of gill slits are minute and uniform in size.[3][8]

The two species of Squaliolus are the only sharks with a spine on the first dorsal fin but not the second. The spine is sexually dimorphic, being typically exposed in males and enclosed by skin in females.[2] The first dorsal fin is tiny and originates over the trailing margin of the pectoral fins. The second dorsal fin is low, with a base twice as long as that of the first, and originates over the anterior half of the pelvic fin bases. The pectoral fins are short and triangular, with the rear margin slightly curved. The pelvic fins are long and low, and there is no anal fin. The caudal peduncle is slender and laterally expanded into weak keels. The caudal fin is broad and paddle-like, with the upper and lower lobes of similar size and shape, and a deep notch in the trailing margin of the upper lobe.[3][8]

The dermal denticles are flat and blocky, not elevated on stalks or bearing marginal teeth. The coloration is dark brown to black, with light fin margins.[3][8] The underside is densely carpeted by light-emitting photophores, which extend to the tip of the snout and around the eyes and nostrils, and thin to almost non-existent on the back. This species has on average only 60 vertebrae, the fewest of any shark.[6]

Biology and ecology[edit]

Lanternfish are preyed upon by the spined pygmy shark.

The diet of the spined pygmy shark consists mainly of bony fishes (including the dragonfish Idiacanthus, the lanternfish Diaphus, and the bristlemouth Gonostoma) and squid (including members of the genera Chiroteuthis and Histioteuthis). Catch records suggest that the spined pygmy shark follows its prey on their diel vertical migrations, spending the day close to a depth of 500 m (1,600 ft) and ascending towards a depth of 200 m (660 ft) at night.[6] The ventral photophores of the spined pygmy shark have been theorized to function in counter-illumination, a form of camouflage in which the shark disguises its silhouette from would-be predators by matching the ambient light welling down from above.[3] There is no evidence that this shark swallows its shed teeth like the pygmy and cookiecutter sharks.[6]

The spined pygmy shark is aplacental viviparous like the rest of its family, with the developing embryos being sustained by a yolk sac until birth.[9] Adult females have two functional ovaries that may each contain up to 12 mature eggs.[6] However, the actual litter size is much smaller; a pregnant female caught off southern Brazil in 1999 contained four near-term pups. The young are born at 9–10 cm (3.5–3.9 in) long.[9] Males mature sexually at a length of 15 cm (5.9 in), and females at a length of 17–20 m (670–790 in).[7] The spined pygmy shark was widely considered to be the smallest living shark species until the discovery of the dwarf lanternshark (Etmopterus perryi), though the pygmy ribbontail catshark (Eridacnis radcliffei) is also known to mature at a size comparable to these two species. Whether one of these sharks is definitively smaller than the others cannot yet be stated with certainty, because of the difficulties involved in assessing reproductive maturity in sharks.[10]

Human interactions[edit]

Spined pygmy sharks have no commercial value; they sometimes appear in the bycatch of trawl fisheries, but are generally too small to be captured. In light of its wide distribution and the absence of substantial threats from human activity, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has assessed this species as of Least Concern.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Kyne, P.M. and G.H. Burgess (2006). Squaliolus laticaudus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved September 27, 2009.
  2. ^ a b Seigel, J.A., T.W. Pietsch, B.H. Robison and T. Abe (November 25, 1977). "Squaliolus sarmenti and S. alii, Synonyms of the Dwarf Deepsea Shark, Squaliolus laticaudus". Copeia 1977 (4): 788–791. doi:10.2307/1443196. JSTOR 1443196. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Compagno, L.J.V. (1984). Sharks of the World: An Annotated and Illustrated Catalogue of Shark Species Known to Date. Rome: Food and Agricultural Organization. p. 108–109. ISBN 92-5-101384-5. 
  4. ^ Smith, H.M. (February 8, 1912). "The squaloid sharks of the Philippine Archipelago, with descriptions of new genera and species". Proceedings of the United States National Museum 41 (1877): 677–685. doi:10.5479/si.00963801.41-1877.677. 
  5. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2009). "Squaliolus laticaudus" in FishBase. September 2009 version.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Seigel, J.A. (December 28, 1978). "Revision of the Dalatiid Shark Genus Squaliolus: Anatomy, Systematics, Ecology". Copeia 1978 (4): 602–614. doi:10.2307/1443686. JSTOR 1443686. 
  7. ^ a b Compagno, L.J.V., M. Dando and S. Fowler (2005). Sharks of the World. Princeton University Press. p. 130. ISBN 978-0-691-12072-0. 
  8. ^ a b c McEachran, J.D. and J.D. Fechhelm (1998). Fishes of the Gulf of Mexico: Myxiniformes to Gasterosteiformes. University of Texas Press. p. 123. ISBN 0-292-75206-7. 
  9. ^ a b Cunhaa, C.M. and M.B. Gonzalez (2006). "Pregnancy in Squaliolus laticaudus (Elasmobranch: Dalatiidae) from Brazil". Environmental Biology of Fishes 75 (4): 465–469. doi:10.1007/s10641-006-0034-0. 
  10. ^ Martin, R.A. (July 28, 1999) What is the Smallest Species of Shark? ReefQuest Centre for Shark Research. Retrieved on September 27, 2009.
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