ETMOPTERIDAE LANTERN SHARKS
Common Name– Dogfish 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 Dogfish– Aculeola nigra
Bareskin Dogfish– Centroscyllium kamoharai
Black Dogfish– Centroscyllium fabricii
Combtooth Dogfish– Centroscyllium nigrum
Granular Dogfish– Centroscyllium granulatum
Highfin Dogfish– Centroscyllium excelsum
Ornate Dogfish– Centroscyllium ornatum
Whitefin Dogfish– Centroscyllium ritteri
African Lanternshark– Etmopterus polli
Blackbelly Lanternshark or Lucifer Shark– Etmopterus lucifer
Blackmouth Lanternshark– Etmopterus evansi
Blurred Smooth Lanternshark or Blurred Lanternshark– Etmopterus bigelowi
Bristled Lanternshark or Brown Lanternshark– Etmopterus unicolor
Broadband Lanternshark or Broadbanded Lanternshark– Etmopterus gracilispinis
Broadsnout Lanternshark– Etmopterus burgessi
Brown Lanternshark– Etmopterus compagnoi
Caribbean Lanternshark– Etmopterus hillianus
Combtooth Lanternshark– Etmopterus decacuspidatus
Cylindrical Lanternshark or Carter Gilbert’s Lanternshark– Etmopterus carteri
Densescale Lanternshark– Etmopterus pycnolepis
Dwarf Lanternshark– Etmopterus perryi
False Lanternshark or False Pygmy Lanternshark– Etmopterus pseudosqualiolus
Fringefin Lanternshark– Etmopterus schultzi
Giant Lanternshark or New Zealand Lanternshark– Etmopterus baxteri
Great Lanternshark– Etmopterus princeps
Green Lanternshark– Etmopterus virens
Hawaiian Lanternshark– Etmopterus villosus
Laila’s Lanternshark– Etmopterus lailae
Lined Lanternshark– Etmopterus bullisi
Lined Lanternshark– Etmopterus dislineatus
Marsha’s Lanternshark– Etmopterus marshae
Ninja Lanternshark– Etmopterus benchleyi
Papuan Lanternshark– Etmopterus samadiae
Pink Lanternshark– Etmopterus dianthus
Pygmy Lanternshark– Etmopterus fusus
Sculpted Lanternshark– Etmopterus sculptus
Shortfin Smooth Lanternshark– Etmopterus joungi
Shorttail Lanternshark– Etmopterus brachyurus
Slendertail Lanternshark or Moller’s Lanternshark– Etmopterus molleri
Smalleye Lanternshark– Etmopterus litvinovi
Smooth Lanternshark– Etmopterus pusillus
Southern Lanternshark– Etmopterus granulosus
Splendid Lanternshark– Etmopterus splendidus
Tailspot Lanternshark– Etmopterus caudistigmus
Tasmanian Lanternshark– Etmopterus tasmaniensis
Thorny Lanternshark– Etmopterus sentosus
Traveller Lanternshark or Blue Eye Lanternshark– Etmopterus viator
Velvet Belly Lanternshark– Etmopterus spinax
West Indian Lanternshark– Etmopterus robinsi
Whitecheek Lanternshark– Etmopterus alphus
Rasptooth Dogfish– Miroscyllium sheikoi (previously known as Centroscyllium sheikoi and debated possibly future classification as Etmopterus sheikoi)