Rare and endangered dogfish with unique features and a silly name

The Longnose Gulper shark or sometimes referred to as the Dumb Gulper shark (Centrophorus harrissoni) belongs to the family Centrophoridae. This rare and endangered shark can be found along the east coast of Australia and some isolated spots just north and west of New Zealand. They may also be referred to as Harrison’s dogfish.


Family: Centrophoridae – Gulper Sharks

Genus: Centrophorus 

Species: harrissoni


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles



Common NameDogfish Sharks

Family– Centrophoridae

Common Name– Gulpher Sharks




Average Size and Length: They are born at 1 foot.  Mature males average 2.8 feet and the longest recorded to date is 3.6 feet.

Teeth and Jaw: The teeth in the upper and lower jaws differ. They are broad, and the lower teeth are larger the upper teeth.  The teeth also differ between the male and female, with the male having much more erect, upright upper teeth, and upward-curving tips on the lowers.

Head: The snout of the Longnose Gulper shark is long, narrow and flat. They have a large mouth, and large, green eyes.

Denticles: The skin is of the Longnose Gulper shark or Dumb Gulper shark is smooth with block-shaped dermal denticles that are widespread and do not overlap.

Tail: There is a diffuse mark on the tail. There is a shallow notch in the postventral caudal fin margin of the adults. The lower lobe is moderately long. The caudal fin is asymmetrical.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Longnose Gulper shark or Dumb Gulper shark is found off the east coast of Australia to some isolated locations just north and west of New Zealand. They have been recorded in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania. They are considered demersal to bathydemersal at a depth range of between 820 – 2,592 feet. They prefer temperatures. Locations: 26°S – 43°S, 111°E – 178°W. They can be found from the upper to middle continental slopes.

Diet: They are thought to eat mostly teleost fishes, cephalopods and crustaceans.

Aesthetic Identification: The Longnose Gulper shark or Dumb Gulper shark is light greyish and paler on the ventral side. Their bodies are slender. There is a prominent dark oblique blotch or bar that is exceeding back from the leading edge of the dorsal fins, this is more prominent in juveniles. There is a white blotch on the upper posterior margin. The pectoral fin rear tips are narrowly angular and elongated quite a bit. The first dorsal fin is short and high. The second dorsal fin is lower with the spine base over the pectoral fin inner margins or the rear tips.

Biology and Reproduction: They are presumably ovoviviparous. Longnose Gulper sharks have 1-2 pups per litter, which are born every 2 years. Evidence suggests that the left-side uterus is less functional than the right-side. They can live up to 46 years on average; they more than likely mature late and live for a long time.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Unknown.

Longnose Gulper Shark Future and Conservation: The numbers of the Longnose Gulper shark have decreased as much as 99% in some areas since the 1970s. They are harvested by commercial trawling or drop lining, for meat and squalene. Sharks on the upper slopes are more vulnerable the ones on the lower slopes. The low reproductive rate, late age of maturity, and long lifespan typical of these sharks means they are likely unable to recover quickly. Action is being taken to preserve them, which includes being incorporated into the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act to create a plan to keep this species safe.

Longnose Gulper Shark Recorded Attacks on Humans: Not a threat to humans.