Mustelus higmani 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Chondrichthyes Carcharhiniformes Triakidae

Scientific Name: Mustelus higmani Springer & Lowe, 1963
Common Name(s):
English Smalleye Smoothhound
French Emissole Tiyeux
Spanish Musola Amarilla

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2006
Date Assessed: 2006-01-31
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Faria, V. & Furtado, M.
Reviewer(s): Musick, J.A., Kyne, P.M., Cavanagh, R.D. & Stevens, J.D. (Shark Red List Authority)
Mustelus higmani is a small (to 64 cm total length) and presumably fast-growing widespread mustelid. It is locally common to abundant where it occurs in the tropical Western Atlantic (northern Gulf of Mexico to Brazil). It is probably taken as bycatch in coastal fisheries throughout its range, however at this stage information is only available from Brazil. In Brazil it is taken as bycatch in shrimp trawl and gillnet fisheries, marketed in some regions (although at low value), and discarded in others. Although taken in numerous fisheries, it is considered to be Least Concern due to its widespread distribution, productive biology (for a chondrichthyan) and common to abundant status. Information is lacking from other parts of its range, but the situation elsewhere is thought to be similar to Brazil (which comprises the greater part of its distribution). However, further research is required and monitoring of catches in all parts of its range is necessary.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Western Atlantic: Northern Gulf of Mexico between Florida and the Mississippi River Delta (USA). Venezuela (Curaçao), Trinidad, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana and south to southern Brazil (Sao Paulo State). In Brazil, occurs off Cabo Orange, near Cabo Norte, Mucuripe, Fortaleza, Recife, Maceio, Salvador, Vitoria, Santos, Espirito Santo and Sao Paulo (Compagno in prep. b)
Countries occurrence:
Brazil; French Guiana; Guyana; Suriname; Trinidad and Tobago; United States (Alabama, Florida, Mississippi); Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – western central; Atlantic – southwest
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species is locally common to abundant where it occurs (Compagno in preparation b).

Described as very abundant off the northern coast of Brazil (Amapá State) based on samples in 1987 (Bezerra 1993) although there is no information available for this area today. At the present time it is known to be abundant off northern Rio de Janeiro, southern Brazil (possibly the largest population is at its southern range limit) (Faria and Di Beneditto 2000, Faria 2001). The distribution of this species along the northeastern coast of Brazil is unclear.

Possible nursery area in northern Rio de Janeiro in shallow estuarine waters (5-9 m). Birth occurs in summer months (December to February) and juveniles are present year-round (Faria 2001).

Season of abundance: off the northern Rio de Janeiro coast this species peaks in abundance (both males and females) in summer (December to February). Adult females have been sampled in shallow estuarine waters only in summer months, suggesting a seasonal reproductive and/or feeding migration (Faria 2001).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Found on the continental shelf on muddy, sandy and calcareous bottoms. Also occurs in shallow brackish water, and estuarine areas. In northern Brazil, caught in depths of 47 to 78 m (Bezerra et al. 1993, Gadig 1994). Compagno (in preparation b) reports occurrence from close inshore to 130 m depth. However, has also been recorded at depths of at least 1,281 m on the continental slope in the Gulf of Mexico.

Compagno (in prep. b) reports a maximum size of 64 cm TL (does not specify locality). Maximum length (northern Rio de Janeiro State): female 61.3 cm TL; male 58 cm TL. Females attain maturity around 42.5 cm TL in Brazil (Gadig 1994, Faria 2001) and males mature at 4 cm TL in northern Brazil (Gadig 1994) and at 47.5 cm TL in Rio de Janeiro State (southern Brazil) (Faria 2001). Size at birth: in Rio de Janeiro State, the largest embryo was 22.9 cm TL, and the smallest captured individual was 21.6 cm TL. Viviparous (with yolksac placenta), with 1 to 7 young per litter, with an average of four in southern Rio de Janeiro State (Faria 2001), and most commonly 3 to 5 (Compagno in prep. b).

Feeds mainly on crustaceans and occasionally on bony fishes, squids, and coelenterates.

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: UTILISATION:
In Amapá State, the bycatch is discarded. In northern Rio de Janeiro State it is retained, but has low value.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Shrimp trawl fisheries in northern Brazil (Amapá State) (Bezerra et al. 1993, Gadig 1994) and southern Brazil: northern Rio de Janeiro (bycatch). Caught in gillnets in northern Rio de Janeiro (more selective for adults) (Faria and Di Beneditto 2000, Faria 2001). Species-specific catch data are not available for these fisheries.

There is no information available on catches in other parts of the species' range.

In Amapá State, the bycatch is discarded. In northern Rio de Janeiro State it is retained, but has low value.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Required: Monitoring of fisheries and community-based initiatives regarding habitat management. Data are specifically required from outside of Brazil, however, catch monitoring should also be undertaken in that country.

Citation: Faria, V. & Furtado, M. 2006. Mustelus higmani. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2006: e.T60204A12318622. . Downloaded on 23 March 2018.
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