sherwood dogfish

Rare Sleeper shark only found in New Zealand

The Sherwood dogfish (Scymnodalatias sherwoodi) is a very rare Sleeper shark of the family Somniosidae, found only around New Zealand. The only male specimen studied was about 2.6 feet long.


Family: Somniosidae – Sleeper sharks

Genus: Scymnodalatia

Species: sherwoodi



Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles



Common NameDogfish Sharks

Family– Somniosidae

Common NameSleeper Sharks




Average Size and Length: The only male Sherwood dogfish studied was about 2.6 feet long.

Teeth and Jaw: The mouth of the Sherwood dogfish is long and broadly arched. The upper teeth are small, with very narrow, acute and erect cusps. The lower teeth are large, un-serrated, blade-like interlocking with high, erect cusps.

Head: The snout of the Sherwood dogfish is long, pointed and flattened. The eyes are horizontally elongated.

Tail: The caudal fin is asymmetrical. There is a shot, strong lower lobe about half as long as the upper lobe.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Sherwood dogfish can be found in the Southwest Pacific in New Zealand. They prefer deep water between 1,312 and 1,640 feet.

Aesthetic Identification: The Sherwood dogfish is dark-brown above, and counter-shaded lighter below. There are light margins on the gill slits and the pectoral fins. The first dorsal fin is in the middle of the back, just behind the elongated pectoral fins that are shaped like a leaf. There is a free rear tip in front of the pectoral fins. The second dorsal fin originates above the rear third of the pelvic base. The pectoral fins are short. There are no dorsal fin spins.

Biology and Reproduction: The Sherwood dogfish is thought to be ovoviviparous.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Unknown.

Sherwood Dogfish Shark Future and Conservation: Caught as bycatch on occasion by deep-water trawlers.

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