Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles



Common NameDogfish Sharks

The Etmopteridae or Lantern sharks are a family belonging to the order of Squaliform sharks. There are more than 50 species within 5 genera. They occur worldwide in deep water. Some have very wide ranges, and some are endemic. Within this family, many species have been more recently discovered, and species are still being discovered. Some species of sharks in this family are some of the smallest known sharks when mature, like the Cylindrical Lanternshark and Dwarf Lanternshark. Check out our World’s Smallest Sharks article here. These sharks also give birth to live young, and some as small as 10-20 cm. The sharks belonging to this family of Lantern sharks are ovoviviparous and have anywhere from 3-20 pups per litter.

The sharks in the family Etmopteridae are dwarf to moderate sized, with mature adults ranging from 10 cm-3.5 feet on average. Many of the species belonging to this family of Lantern sharks are special because they possess photophores. Check out our Glow in the Dark Sharks article here.

There are some typical traits across all genre. Some have visible and not so visible black marks on the abdomen, flanks and tail. There are two dorsal fins with strongly grooved spines. It is typical in this family for the second spine to be larger than the first dorsal fin spine. There is no anal fin. There are no precaudal pits or lateral keels on the caudal peduncle.

Centroscyllium have short to somewhat long snouts. Their teeth are comblike. They have cusps and cusplets in both jaws. The teeth in Aculeola are small and hook-like in both jaws. Trigonognathus and Miroscyllium have extremely distinctive teeth.

Etmopterus typically have dark markings ventrally which typically indicate photophores. The upper teeth of Etmopterus also have a cusp and one or more pairs of cusplets. Their lower teeth are very different from the upper teeth, and are blade-like. Some species have lines of dermal denticles along their flanks and dorsal surface this has been described as an engraved look.

It has been noted that upon retrieval of many specimens, they have been in very poor condition due to vigorous damage from fishing gear. Therefore, visual identification is a challenge which results in many misidentifications. In some cases, the only way to accurately identify these species from one another is by examining all details from dentation, dermal denticles, photophores, coloration and several other features including vertebra and DNA tests.

Most species within this family live in deep water and are bottom-dwelling between 656-4,921 feet. Their typical range is 164-14,764 feet. There are some species that are considered semi-oceanic. Some of these species are social and form small to large aggregations, schools or shoals.

Most species in this family are common, but poorly known. Most are not considered valuable by commercial fishing, and are typically discarded as bycatch.

Hooktooth DogfishAculeola nigra


Bareskin DogfishCentroscyllium kamoharai

Black DogfishCentroscyllium fabricii

Combtooth DogfishCentroscyllium nigrum

Granular DogfishCentroscyllium granulatum

Highfin DogfishCentroscyllium excelsum

Ornate DogfishCentroscyllium ornatum

Whitefin DogfishCentroscyllium ritteri


African LanternsharkEtmopterus polli

Blackbelly Lanternshark or Lucifer SharkEtmopterus lucifer

Blackmouth LanternsharkEtmopterus evansi

Blurred Smooth Lanternshark or Blurred Lanternshark– Etmopterus bigelowi

Bristled Lanternshark or Brown LanternsharkEtmopterus unicolor

Broadband Lanternshark or Broadbanded LanternsharkEtmopterus gracilispinis

Broadsnout LanternsharkEtmopterus burgessi

Brown LanternsharkEtmopterus compagnoi

Caribbean LanternsharkEtmopterus hillianus

Combtooth LanternsharkEtmopterus decacuspidatus

Cylindrical Lanternshark or Carter Gilbert’s LanternsharkEtmopterus carteri

Densescale LanternsharkEtmopterus pycnolepis

Dwarf LanternsharkEtmopterus perryi

False Lanternshark or False Pygmy LanternsharkEtmopterus pseudosqualiolus

Fringefin LanternsharkEtmopterus schultzi

Giant Lanternshark or New Zealand LanternsharkEtmopterus baxteri

Great LanternsharkEtmopterus princeps

Green LanternsharkEtmopterus virens

Hawaiian LanternsharkEtmopterus villosus

Laila’s LanternsharkEtmopterus lailae

Lined LanternsharkEtmopterus bullisi

Lined LanternsharkEtmopterus dislineatus

Marsha’s Lanternshark– Etmopterus marshae

Ninja LanternsharkEtmopterus benchleyi

Papuan LanternsharkEtmopterus samadiae

Pink LanternsharkEtmopterus dianthus

Pygmy LanternsharkEtmopterus fusus

Sculpted LanternsharkEtmopterus sculptus

Shortfin Smooth LanternsharkEtmopterus joungi

Shorttail LanternsharkEtmopterus brachyurus

Slendertail Lanternshark or Moller’s LanternsharkEtmopterus molleri

Smalleye LanternsharkEtmopterus litvinovi

Smooth LanternsharkEtmopterus pusillus

Southern LanternsharkEtmopterus granulosus

Splendid LanternsharkEtmopterus splendidus

Tailspot LanternsharkEtmopterus caudistigmus

Tasmanian LanternsharkEtmopterus tasmaniensis

Thorny LanternsharkEtmopterus sentosus

Traveller Lanternshark or Blue Eye LanternsharkEtmopterus viator

Velvet Belly LanternsharkEtmopterus spinax

West Indian LanternsharkEtmopterus robinsi

Whitecheek LanternsharkEtmopterus alphus

Extinct species

Etmopterus acutidens

Etmopterus cahuzaci

Rasptooth DogfishMiroscyllium sheikoi (previously known as Centroscyllium sheikoi and debated possibly future classification as Etmopterus sheikoi)

Viper DogfishTrigonognathus kabeyai