Tiny holotype in the South China Sea

The Combtooth lanternshark (Etmopterus decacuspidatus) is a shark belonging to the family Etmopteridae the holotype was found in the South China Sea between the Viet Nam coast and Hainan Island, at a depth of between 1,680-2,270 feet. The holotype’s length is 29 cm/11.4 inches.


Family: Etmopteridae – Lantern Sharks

Genus: Etmopterus 

Species: decacuspidatus


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles



Common NameDogfish Sharks

Family– Etmopteridae

Common NameLantern Sharks




Average Size and Length: The only known length is from the holotype adult male of 29 cm.

Teeth and Jaw: The upper teeth have four or five pairs of cusplets on each side.

Denticles: There are no regular rows of dermal denticles on the sides.

Tail: There is a fairly, long broad tail.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Combtooth lanternshark is found in the northwest Pacific at Hainan Island, China. It was collected on or near the bottom between 1,680-2,270 feet.

Aesthetic Identification: The Combtooth lanternshark has a moderately slender body that is brown above with a black underside. There is an elongated narrow black mark running above, in front and behind the pelvic fins. There are other elongated black marks at the caudal fin base and along its axis. The gill openings are short. The first dorsal fin origin is slightly behind the free pectoral rear tips. The dorsal base is much closer to the pectoral bases then to the pelvics. The second dorsal fin is about twice the area of the first.

Biology and Reproduction: Unknown, but presumably ovoviviparous.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Unknown.

Combtooth Lanternshark Future and Conservation: They are not evaluated. The Combtooth lanternshark is only known from one holotype.

Combtooth Lanternshark Recorded Attacks on Humans: Not a threat to humans