caribbean roughshark

Little deepwater shark with a strange dorsal fin and colorful markings

The Caribbean Roughshark (Oxynotus caribbaeus) is a Roughshark of the family Oxynotidae , found on the upper continental slopes of the Caribbean Sea, at depths between 1,319 and 1,499 feet. They are thought to be slow-moving sharks.


Family: Oxynotidae – Roughsharks

Genus: Oxynotus 

Species: caribbaeus


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles



Common NameDogfish Sharks

Family– Oxynotidae

Common NameRoughsharks




Average Size and Length: Immature males and females are between 8 and 8.3 inches. Adult males reach a length of 1.6 feet and females may grow to even longer lengths.

Teeth and Jaw: The Caribbean roughshark has lanceolate upper teeth, containing 12 rows and lower blade-like teeth containing 12 rows.

Head: The Caribbean Roughshark has a short, blunt snout and head. They have small, circular spiracles on the dorsal base of the head. The supraorbital ridges are not expanded and do not form a knob in front of the spiracles.

Denticles: The dermal denticles are large.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Caribbean roughshark can be found in the western Atlantic Ocean, also near the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. There have also been spotted in the Caribbean in the Bahamas, and the upper continental slopes of Venezuela and Honduras. They can be found between 1,319 and 1,499 feet. They prefer water temperature between 49-52 degrees F.

Diet: The Caribbean roughshark possibly feeds on invertebrates and fishes found near the bottom of their habitat.

Aesthetic Identification: The Caribbean roughshark is a very small shark but is chubby-looking. On the head, body, and tail, it has light, greyish or brownish skin, patterned with dark bands and blotches, with lighter color patterns on its pectoral fins and pelvic fins. It has two dorsal fins. Its first dorsal fin is inclined forward, with concave trailing edges, is very long, narrow and triangular in shape. The second dorsal fin is similar to the first, although it is not as long. There is no anal fin.  

Biology and Reproduction: Unknown.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Unknown.

Speed: Research suggests that the Caribbean Roughshark is slow-moving.

Caribbean Roughshark Future and Conservation: Sometimes found as a bycatch, but not enough data is known to evaluate the Caribbean Roughshark.

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