New lantern shark classified in 2011

The Sculpted lanternshark (Etmopterus sculptus) is a shark belonging to the family Etmopteridae found in Namibia to southern Mozambique. It was classified in 2011 by Ebert, Compagno & De Vries. The 3 closest sharks in its family are the Slendertail Lanternshark or Mollers Lanternshark– Etmopterus molleri, the Blackbelly Lanternshark or Lucifer SharkEtmopterus lucifer, and the Shorttail LanternsharkEtmopterus brachyurus. There are a number of characteristics that distinguish the Sculpted lanternshark from the family group.


Family: Etmopteridae – Lantern Sharks

Genus: Etmopterus

Species: sculptus


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles



Common NameDogfish Sharks

Family– Etmopteridae

Common NameLantern Sharks




Average Size and Length: The only recorded length for a male has been 40.6 cm/1.3 feet, and the maximum length for a female has been 51.5 cm/1.7 feet.

Denticles: The Sculpted lanternshark has linear dermal denticles. It can be distinguished from its closest congeners by the arrangement of dermal denticles that extend over most of the upper and lower body surface. The Sculpted lanternshark has non-overlapping denticles, giving it a rougher, more sculpted texture than the other mentioned species. The arrangement of the dermal denticles on the ventral head surface is also a good character for separating these species. The Sculpted lanternshark has uniformly distributed denticles while the ventral surface of E. Lucifer and E. molleri is sparsely covered with denticles. The ventral surface of the head of E. brachyurus typically lacks dermal denticles.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Sculpted lanternshark can be found in the Atlantic Ocean from Namibia to southern Mozambique. They are tropical marine pelagic-oceanic at a depth range of between 787-2,953 feet, but typically stay deeper than 1,476 feet. They are common along the upper continental slopes on or near the bottom.

Diet: They feed mainly on mid-water bony fish, squid, octopus, shrimp and brittle stars.

Aesthetic Identification: The Sculpted lanternshark is a somewhat large and stout shark. One differentiator is by the length of its anterior flank markings being slightly longer than its posterior branch. The posterior branch of the flank markings on E. brachyurus and E. molleri are shorter relative to the anterior branch, and in E. lucifer, the anterior branch is nearly twice the length of the posterior branch.

Biology and Reproduction: They are presumably ovoviviparous having 2 pups per litter.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Unknown.  

Sculpted Lanternshark Future and Conservation: Not enough data to evaluate.

Sculpted Lanternshark Recorded Attacks on Humans: Not a threat to humans.

Ebert, D.A., Compagno, L.J.V. and M.J. De Vries, 2011. “A new lanternshark (Squaliformes: Etmopteridae: Etmopterus) from Southern Africa”. Copeia 2011(3):379-384.