Common deepwater shark with a sharply pointed snout and pitchforked dermal denticles

The Birdbeak dogfish (Deania calcea) is a shark belonging to the family Centrophoridae found in the Pacific Ocean around Honshū, Japan, southern Australia, New Zealand, and Chile, and in the Atlantic Ocean from Iceland south to the Cape of Good Hope, Algoa Bay.



Family: Centrophoridae – Gulper Sharks

Genus: Deania 

Species: calcea


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles



Common NameDogfish Sharks

Family– Centrophoridae

Common Name– Gulpher Sharks




Average Size and Length: The Birdbeak dogfish is born just over 11.8 inches long. Mature males are on average 2.6 feet and females 3.3 feet. The maximum recorded length is 4 feet.

Teeth and Jaw: The teeth are different in both jaws. The teeth are arranged in 3 rows and are small in the upper jaw, and come to a sharp point. The teeth in the lower jaw are wider and large, broader that are shaped a bit like a blade with a slightly curved point.

Head: The snout is long and flattened. Very large eyes closer to the snout tip than the first gill slit.

Denticles: The skin of the Birdbeak dogfish is rough. The lateral trunk denticles are pitchforked shaped and are about .5 mm long.

Tail: There is no subcaudal keel beneath the caudal peduncle.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Birdbeak dogfish can be found in the east Atlantic from Iceland to South Africa. In the Pacific, they can be found in Japan, Taiwan Islands, Australia, and from Peru to Chili. They can be found on the continental and insular shelves and slopes between 230-4,823 feet, but typically stay between 1,312-2,953 feet. They are considered to be bathydemersal.

Diet: They typically feed on bony fish and shrimp.

Aesthetic Identification: The Birdbeak dogfish is grey to dark brown with darker fins. Juveniles have darker posterior dorsal fin margins. Juveniles also have dark patches above the eyes and gill regions and on the caudal fin lobes. The first dorsal fin is extremely low and long and shorter. The second dorsal fin is taller than the first. There are two grooved spines. There is no anal fin.

Biology and Reproduction: They are ovoviviparous and have between 6-12 pups per litter. The breeding cycle may be non-continuous.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Birdbeak dogfish sometimes school or shoal. They may segregate by sex and size.

Birdbeak Dogfish Future and Conservation: They are bycarch of deepwater fisheries and are quite common. They are of least concern currently. Caught very rarely by demersal longline fisheries operating in deepwater of Indonesia. Utilized for its meat, fins, and liver oil.

Birdbeak Dogfish Recorded Attacks on Humans: Not a threat to humans.