Medium sized dogfish with blade like teeth and rough skin

The Needle dogfish (Centrophorus acus) is a species belonging to the family Centrophoridae or common name Gulper sharks. They are medium sized with a long snout and bladelike teeth. The skin is quite rough with leaf-like denticles. They can be found in the northwest Pacific in Japan, the Philippines and Taiwan Island in deep water.


Family: Centrophoridae – Gulper Sharks

Genus: Centrophorus 

Species: acus


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles



Common NameDogfish Sharks

Family– Centrophoridae

Common NameGulper Sharks




Average Size and Length: They are 3.3-3.5 feet on average. Females are between 5.1-5.3 feet in length. The holotype was 81 cm, 2.6 feet.

Teeth and Jaw: The teeth are bladelike, unicuspidate in the upper and lower jaws, with lowers much larger than uppers.

Head: The snout of the Needle dogfish is long and flat. It is narrowly parabolic, preoral snout somewhat greater than mouth width but shorter than distance from mouth to pectoral origins.

Denticles: The skin of the Needle dogfish is rough. The dermal denticles are leaf-shaped, tricuspidate, and overlapping. The lateral trunk denticles are partly overlapping each other, with thick pedicels elevating flat with leaflike crowns. There is a strong main cusp and a pair of lateral cusps on their posterior edges in adults.

Tail: The caudal fin has a shallowly concave or weakly notched postventral margin in adults.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Needle dogfish can be found in the northwest Pacific in Japan, the Philippines and Taiwan Island. They can be found over the outer continental shelves and upper slopes from 492-3,117 feet. They are mostly found deeper than 656 feet. They may go as deep as 5,860 feet.  

Diet: More than likely crustaceans, bony fishes and cephalopods but this is not confirmed.

Aesthetic Identification: The Needle dogfish is brown in color dorsally and slightly lighter below. The fin webs are dusky with darker edges and are not prominently marked. The free rear tips of the pectoral fins extend into long, narrow angular lobes that reach past the first dorsal spine origin. The first dorsal fin is low and long. The second dorsal fin is just as high and almost as large as the first with a base about 3/4 length of first dorsal base. There is no anal fin. The spine origin is over the inner margins of pelvic fins. The distance from first dorsal insertion to origin of second dorsal spine is about as long as the tip of the snout to pectoral midbases in adults.

Biology and Reproduction: They are thought to be ovoviviparous. Their litter sizes are smaller with females probably having no more than 5 eggs. Females don’t mature until at least 20 years old or older.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Little is known about the Needle dogfish; however, they are thought to feed more actively at night.

Needle Dogfish Future and Conservation: Currently they aren’t evaluated, but they are caught off Japan and Taiwan and their liver oil is of value. They may be highly susceptible to demersal bottom trawls and longlines. They are also caught as bycatch.

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