A rare shark with healing properties, long sensing barbels and rough skin to touch

The Mandarin Dogfish (Cirrhigaleus barbifer) is a member of the family Squalidae, or common English name Dogfish, in the order Squaliformes. It is found at depths of 460–2,130 feet off southern Japan, Taiwan, and Indonesia (Bali and Lombok). Populations off Australia and New Zealand were formerly included in this species, but in 2007 these were assigned to a new species, the Southern Mandarin Dogfish. It is not clear which of these species is involved in other populations from the tropical West Pacific.


Family: Squalidae – Dogfish Sharks

Genus: Cirrhigaleus 

Species: barbifer


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles


Order– Squaliformes

Common NameDogfish Sharks

Family– Squalidae

Common Name– Dogfish Sharks

Genus Cirrhigaleus



Average Size and Length: Mature male Mandarin Dogfish are around 2.8 feet, and mature females from 3.1-3.5 feet. The maximum recorded length has been at least 4 feet in length.

Head: There are longer barbels on the anterior nasal flaps. They are mustache like reaching the mouth. They may contain chemosensory receptors.

Denticles: Similar to the Roughskin Spurdog.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Mandarin Dogfish is found in the western Pacific over continental and insular slopes and outer shelves. It is found at depths of 460–2,130 feet off southern Japan, Taiwan, and Indonesia (Bali and Lombok) on or near the bottom.

Diet: The diet of the Mandarin Dogfish is unknown.

Aesthetic Identification: Extremely similar to the Roughskin Spurdog, however the long barbels are a noticeable difference.

Biology and Reproduction: Not much is known about the biology of the Mandarin Dogfish. They are ovoviviparous. There has been one reported litter of 10 pups, 5 per uterus.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: The barbels of the Mandarin Dogfish are thought to contain chemosensory receptors that may sense prey location.

Mandarin Dogfish Future and Conservation: Very uncommon to rare, the Mandarin Dogfish is thought to be threatened, however there isn’t enough data to evaluate their status.

Mandarin Dogfish Recorded Attacks on Humans: Not a threat to humans.