Deep-water shark of the Atlantic

The Great lanternshark (Etmopterus princeps) is a shark belonging to the family Etmopteridae found in the northeast and northwest Atlantic. They are larger size in comparison to other sharks in its family. They are a deep-water species.


Family: Etmopteridae – Lantern Sharks

Genus: Etmopterus

Species: princeps


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles



Common NameDogfish Sharks

Family– Etmopteridae

Common NameLantern Sharks




Average Size and Length: Mature males on average are 2.1 feet. The maximum recorded has been 2.5 feet.

Teeth and Jaw: The teeth in the upper jaw differ from the teeth in the lower jaw. The upper teeth are sharp to a straight point with cusplets. The bottom teeth are larger and broader.

Denticles: The dermal denticle largely cover the snout and sides. They are wide-spaced and not arranged in rows.

Tail: The tail is broad and long.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Great lanternshark can be found in the northwest Atlantic from Nova Scotia to New Jersey. In the northeast Atlantic they can be found between Greenland and Iceland to northwest Africa and the Azores. Some suggest they can be found in the south Atlantic and western Pacific but this is uncertain and unconfirmed. They are found over continental slopes on or near the bottom between 1,150-7,261 feet. In the north Atlantic, they can be found between 12,303-14,764 feet.  

Aesthetic Identification: The Great lanternshark is stout and large in comparison to other sharks in its family. It has a blackish body with no apparent dark markings. The gill openings are long. They are about half the eye length. The second dorsal fin is much larger, but less than twice the area of the first. Both dorsal fins have grooved spines. There is no anal fin.

Biology and Reproduction: Their biology is poorly known, but presumably their reproduction is ovoviviparous.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Unknown.

Great Lanternshark Future and Conservation: They are not evaluated but probably a bycatch in the east Atlantic slope fisheries.

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