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What Is The Smallest Shark

What Is The Smallest Shark? Facts About The Apex Predator

If we say shark, what will be the first image that comes to your mind? Usually, people attribute a massive creature to a shark. However, some big sharks like the white shark or the tiger shark have been known as one of the most dangerous predators.

Sharks are cartilaginous fishes that are characterized with

  • five to seven pairs of gill clefts that open individually to the exterior
  • rigid dorsal fins
  • small placoid scales on the skin
  • Multiple series of teeth
  • The lower jaw is articulated with the upper.

After reading the above part, we know what sharks are. Now, let us know how old sharks are and how much time humans have known them.

How Old Are Sharks?

As per science, the earliest known sharks date back to more than 420 million years ago. Also, more than 500 species of sharks vary from big to small, thin to broad, large to tiny, and much more. Usually, sharks are found in water bodies with depths of more than 2,000 meters.

Have you thought about a small shark creature that will not attack or kill you instead pick the end of your finger with its smallmouth? First, let’s know what the smallest shark is? But, before that, let us know what makes a shark different from other fishes.

What Makes A Shark Different From Other Fishes?

Sharks are a kind of fish. But, there is a difference between sharks and other fishes, like their bones, skeletons, body shape, and skin texture. So, let’s take a look at the difference between Sharks and fishes that includes:


These exclusive kinds of fish are mostly found in salty waters. However, a few exceptions, like a bull shark or river shark, are found in both kinds of water bodies.

Sharks are found in the deep end of the sea. It has a lightweight cartilaginous skeleton with an oil-filled liver that buoy it to improve its fluid dynamics.

Sharks can swim and prey upon other fishes. It is considered notorious in nature and killing.


Fishes are found in all kinds of water bodies. It is found in aquatic systems like high- mountains, streams, or the deepest oceans. Fishes have soft bodies with notochords that make them agile.

Fishes are commercially and substantially used for wild fisheries or farming in ponds. It is also caught for recreational fishers to keep as pets or for raising by fish keepers in public aquariums.

These are some key differences between fishes and sharks. Now, let us come to our main question and know about the smallest shark in the world.

What Is The Smallest Shark?

The smallest shark in the world is the dwarf lantern shark (Etmopterus perryi). This species is the smallest species from the discovered species of the lantern sharks that come from the dogfish family. Therefore, it is the widely accepted smallest shark species. However, some authors debate this title because the researchers find it challenging to decide the maturity of the smallest shark species.

The Dwarf Lantern shark is considered the smallest shark globally because it measures less than other sharks that have been discovered to date. Also, its highest recorded length has been 21 CM. It is followed by a spined pygmy shark that grows up to 28 CM. Some time back, a report claimed to find a 19 CM female Dwarf lantern shark that had been carrying a forming embryo. So, this proves its maturity that makes it the topmost consideration.

After understanding the smallest shark in the world, let us know more about the Dwarf lantern shark.

Who Is The Dwarf Lantern Shark?

Dwarf lantern shark, or the smallest shark globally, has a size similar to your palm. But this shark is rarely seen, and it was seen only a few times at the northern tip of South America. So, there is only a little information known about it.

This small shark has light-emitting organs on its belly and intestines. It is known as photophores. Consequently, this enables it to camouflage itself and feed in shallow water. However, it has comparatively larger eyes than other sharks facilitating it to see in the dark ocean. Also, in dark water, light attracts small animals to the prey.

The Dwarf lantern shark reaches a length of a maximum of 7.8 inches, and its small size identifies it at its maturity. It has a flattened head pattern with black ventral markings. The shark’s skin is covered with thin and needle-like markings on its skin. Moreover, the shark has a dark brown color with a distinct pattern of black marks on its surface. The female Dwarf lantern shark gives birth to 2-3 pups.

Although, it is not used in the commercial fishery. However, there is a risk of mortality with bycatch. Still, the impact of human activities on this population is unknown. Therefore, the human community needs to take care of these rare sharks.


Now we have reached the end of this article. We hope to answer the main question like “What is the smallest shark”.

Now let’s take a quick recap.

A shark is a special kind of cartilaginous fish different from regular fish. The Dwarf lantern shark, or the smallest shark in the world, has a size that equals a human palm. It reaches a maximum height of 21 CM during its maturity that is smaller than other fishes from the same species. This fish is rarely found, and it is not a part of the commercial fishery.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the two most small sharks in the world?

The Dwarf lantern shark and the pygmy shark are considered the two most small sharks globally. The Dwarf lantern shark reaches up to a length of 21 CM, and the pygmy shark grows up to 28 CM in length.

2. What is the rarest shark in the world?

The speartooth shark (Glyphis) is one of the rarest sharks in the world. It is found only in some rivers in New Guinea and northern Australia. This shark is not targeted by fisheries for its meat or fins but can be accidentally caught in fishing nets.

3. Does any pink shark exist?

The Dusky Shark is a bizarre pink shark widely distributed and swims around the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. Interestingly the teeth of this shark are visible even when its mouth is closed.

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