Shark commonly misidentified with a dark colored body and a luminous belly

The Slendertail lanternshark or Mollers lanternshark (Etmopterus molleri) is a shark belonging to the family Etmopteridae found in the western Pacific Ocean. It is commonly misidentified for several other sharks in its family. The Slendertail lanternshark has photophores on its belly.


Family: Etmopteridae – Lantern Sharks

Genus: Etmopterus 

Species: molleri


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles



Common NameDogfish Sharks

Family– Etmopteridae

Common NameLantern Sharks




Average Size and Length: Adults have been measured to reach 1.5 feet.

Teeth and Jaw: The teeth of the Slendertail lanternshark differ in each jaw. The upper teeth have 3 cusplets and are slender and come straight to a point. The teeth in the bottom jaw are larger, broader and more built for crushing.

Head: The head is slender, and the snout is a bit broad. It has a darker head than most sharks belonging to its family. It has large eyes that are closer to the snout than the first gill slit.

Denticles: There are regular longitudinal rows of dermal denticles on the head, on the flanks, on the caudal peduncle and on the caudal base. They are not above the pectoral fins. There are no dermal denticles on the second dorsal fin.

Tail: The caudal peduncle is somewhat elongated.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Slendertail lanternshark or Moller’s lanternshark can be found in the west Pacific off of Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan and Japan. There is a possibility that they are found in the western Indian Ocean off of Mozambique. They are found over the outer continental and insular shelves and upper slopes on or near the bottom between 781-2,150 feet.

Aesthetic Identification: The Slendertail lanternshark or Moller’s lanternshark is a slender shark. It has a light brown back, dark brown flanks with black photomarks, and the ventral side is black. The second dorsal fin is much larger than the first dorsal fin. It is different then some of the other sharks in its family in that it has a naked second dorsal fin, a much longer second dorsal fin and a much longer caudal peduncle.

Biology and Reproduction: Unknown, but presumably ovoviviparous.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Unknown.

Slendertail Lanternshark Future and Conservation: Not evaluated.

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