Tie for 1st place of the worlds smallest shark with striking black patterns

The Dwarf lanternshark (Etmopterus perryi) is a little-known species of shark belonging to the family Etmopteridae. It is one of the smallest living sharks! The Dwarf Lanternshark ties for first place in our Planet Shark Diver’s World’s Smallest Sharks. Read it here!


Family: Etmopteridae – Lantern Sharks

Genus: Etmopterus

Species: perryi


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles



Common NameDogfish Sharks

Family– Etmopteridae

Common NameLantern Sharks




Average Size and Length: They are born around 6 cm. Mature males are between 16-17 cm/6.2-6.7 inches. Mature females have been recorded at 19 cm/7.5 inches. The maximum recorded length is 21 cm/8.3 inches.

Teeth and Jaw: There are 25–32 tooth rows in the upper jaw and 30–34 tooth rows in the lower jaw. The upper teeth of adult males have a single cusp flanked by two pairs of smaller cusplets, while the upper teeth of females are more robust and have only one pair of lateral cusplets flanking the central cusp. The lower teeth each have a single, strongly oblique cusp, and their bases are interlocked to form a continuous cutting surface. Scattered, sparse papillae are inside the mouth and on the edges of the gill arches.

Head: The Dwarf lanternshark has a long, broad flat head. The head is about a fourth to a fifth of its total length. The eyes are large, twice as long as high, with the anterior and posterior corners acute. The nares are large and preceded by poorly developed flaps of skin.

Denticles: The Dwarf lanternshark has needle-shaped denticles in a random, dense array. The lips and the tips of the fins are absent of dermal denticles.

Tail: The caudal fin of the Dwarf lanternshark is low, with a moderate lower lobe and a ventral notch near the tip of the upper lobe.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Dwarf lanternshark can be found in the northwest Atlantic in the Caribbean and the coast of Colombia and possibly Venezuela. It has been seen between Barranquilla and Santa Marta, near the Guajira Peninsula, and between the Los Testigos Islands and Grenada. They can be found on the upper continental slope between 929-1,230 possibly 1,440 feet deep. They are considered bathypelagic.

Aesthetic Identification: The Dwarf lanternshark is Brownish above and black below. There are striking black patterns on the ventral side. It does not have a band of white on the middle of the back. There is a visible dark band at the tip of the terminal lobe of the caudal fins and a dark blotch on the ventral caudal lobe. The first dorsal fin originates over the trailing margins of the pectoral fins. The second dorsal fin has twice the area of the first and is larger than the pectoral or pelvic fins, and originates over the end of the pelvic fin bases. Both dorsal fins have grooved spines in front. There is no anal fin. The Dwarf lanternshark may have photophores and possibly chromatophores. There are 5 pairs of small gill slits.

Biology and Reproduction: The Dwarf lanternshark is ovoviviparous. Research suggest that females have litters of 2-3 pups, each measuring 2.2–2.4 inches long.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Unknown.

Dwarf Lanternshark Future and Conservation: The Dwarf lanternshrak is not important to commercial fisheries. It is possibly taken as bycatch.

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