World’s smallest shark found here locally in the Caribbean

The Cylindrical lanternshark also known as Carter Gilberts lanternshark (Etmopterus carteri) is a shark belonging to the family Etmopteridae found along the Caribbean coast. It is a very tiny shark with the maximum recorded length of 21 cm or 8.3 inches. Read here our PSD ranked World’s Smallest Sharks, the Cylindrical lanternshark ties for first place as the world’s smallest shark!


Family: Etmopteridae – Lantern Sharks

Genus: Etmopterus 

Species: carteri


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles



Common NameDogfish Sharks

Family– Etmopteridae

Common NameLantern Sharks




Average Size and Length: Mature males and females have been recorded around 18 cm or 7.1 inches. The longest recorded has been 21 cm or 8.3 inches, making it our ranked World’s Smallest Shark!

Head: The head is semicylindrical. It is as deep as it is wide at the eyes. The eyes are somewhat large and are closer to the tip of the snout than the first gill slit. The snout is short and bluntly rounded.

Denticles: The dermal denticles, very small and needle-like to spine-like, covering the whole body except narrowly along lips, the gill slit margins, and around cloacal opening and dorsal surface of claspers.

Tail: There is a slender caudal peduncle.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Cylindrical lanternshark or Carter Gilbert’s lanternshark can be found in the northwest Atlantic from the Caribbean to the coast of Colombia. They can be found on the upper continental slopes from 928-1,168 feet. They are bathypelagic and possibly epipelagic.

Aesthetic Identification: The Cylindrical lanternshark or Carter Gilbert’s lanternshark is a very tiny lanternshark with a dark body. It doesn’t have any concentrations of photophores. The fins have pale webs. The gill slits are broad. The pelvic fins are small.

Biology and Reproduction: Unknown but presumably ovoviviparous. Unconfirmed, they are thought to have 3-20 pups of 10-20 cm in length per litter.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Unknown.

Cylindrical Lanternshark Future and Conservation: There is not enough data to evaluate.

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