Tiny sized shark with unique characteristics here in Florida

The Caribbean lanternshark (Etmopterus hillianus) is a shark belonging to the family Etmopteridae found in the eastern and western Atlantic and Caribbean. This shark has striking black marks and can be found right here in Florida.


Family: Etmopteridae – Lantern Sharks

Genus: Etmopterus 

Species: hillianus


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles



Common NameDogfish Sharks

Family– Etmopteridae

Common NameLantern Sharks




Average Size and Length: They are born around 9 cm/3.5 inches. Mature males have been measured at 20 cm/8 inches, with a maximum of 26 cm/10.2 inches. Mature females have been measured at 28 cm/11 inches.

Teeth and Jaw: The upper teeth and the lower teeth differ. The upper teeth typically have 3 pairs of cusplets. The upper teeth are smaller, slenderer and sharper, while the bottom teeth are much broader and more designed for crushing.

Head: The head is somewhat broad. The eyes are very large and are much closer to the snout than the first gill slit.

Denticles: The dermal denticles are large and are not arranged in rows on the trunk. There are dermal denticles on the covering the snout.

Tail: The tail of the Caribbean lanternshark is moderately long.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Caribbean lanternshark can be found in the northwest Atlantic from Virginia to Florida. They are found in the Caribbean from the Bahamas, Cuba, Bermuda, Hispaniola, and Lesser Antilles. They are not known to be in the western or the southern Caribbean. They are found over the upper continental and insular slopes on or near the sandy bottom between 1,020-2,280 feet.

Aesthetic Identification: The Caribbean lanternshark is a dwarf shark with a stout body. It is grey or dark brown dorsally and much darker black ventrally. There is a broad and elongated black mark above and behind the pelvic fins. There are more black marks at the caudal fin base and along its axis. There are short gill openings. The interdorsal space is short. The second dorsal fin is much larger than the first but less than twice the area of the first.

Biology and Reproduction: The Caribbean lanternshark is ovoviviparous having between 4-5 pups per litter.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Unknown.

Caribbean Lanternshark Future and Conservation: The Caribbean lanternshark is of little interest to fisheries. It Is of least concern. They are caught with a hook and line off of Cuba.

Caribbean Lanternshark Recorded Attacks on Humans: Not a threat to humans.