Smalltail Shark

The smalltail shark is a requiem shark living in the western Atlantic ocean.

Smalltail Shark Scientific Classification

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Chondrichthyes
Order Carcharhiniformes
Family Carcharhinidae
Genus Carcharhinus
Scientific Name C. porosus


On average, these sharks are about 3.0–3.6 ft, though the maximum length is about 4.9 ft, with males being smaller than females. Inside this shark’s mouth, one can observe 13–15 tooth rows on both jaws.

The smalltail shark has falcate pectoral fins with pointed tips, a broad first dorsal fin, a smaller second dorsal fin, and an asymmetrical caudal fin.

When looked at from above, this shark appears grey or slate, when looked at from below, they are white. There is a light stripe on the shark’s flank, while the caudal, dorsal, and pectoral fins have darkened tips.

Where do they live

This shark has a small range along the western Atlantic from the northern Gulf of Mexico to southern Brazil.

Smalltail sharks swim in coastal waters at depths of 118 ft, around estuaries with muddy bottoms.



Opportunistic feeders, these sharks feed on bony fish like croakers, grunts, herring, jacks, and sea catfish, as well as crabs, shrimp, and squids. Adults will potentially consume stingrays and smaller sharks like hammerhead and sharpnose sharks.


Females and males aggregate in separate groups, with males, generally found at greater depths than females.


The smalltail shark is viviparous, giving live birth to as few as two to as many as nine pups, though the average is generally 4-6. The gestation generally occurs throughout the year, as does the mating process, with birthing rates peaking from September to November. Females give birth in shallow bays and estuaries around northern Brazil and Trinidad.

At birth, the baby sharks are about 12–13 inches long. Sexual maturity is observed in males when they are 28–37 inches long and in females when they are 28–33 inches long when they are roughly six years of age. This shark tends to live for 12 years.

Interactions with humans

This shark isn’t a threat to humans, but the same cannot be said the opposite way around. As the most economically viable shark around Trinidad, this shark once made up 43% of the total shark and ray catch but has since dropped to about 17%. This has caused the IUCN to classify the smalltail shark as “Critically Endangered” or “CR”.

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