Shark with smooth skin, different teeth and green eyes

The Smallfin Gulper shark (Centrophorus moluccensis) is a deepwater shark belonging to the family Centrophoridae. Like most of the sharks belonging in its family, they have extremely low and slow reproduction rates.


Family: Centrophoridae – Gulper Sharks

Genus: Centrophorus 

Species: moluccensis


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles



Common NameDogfish Sharks

Family– Centrophoridae

Common Name– Gulpher Sharks




Average Size and Length: The Smallfin Gulper shark is born at 1.1 feet. Mature males are around 2.3 feet and mature females 3 feet. The longest recorded has been 3.3 feet.

Teeth and Jaw: The lower jaw has broad teeth almost hooked and are large. The teeth in the upper jaw are much smaller, but bent slightly with fine serrations on the side and at a point.

Head: The snout of the Smallfin Gulper shark is short and thick. The eyes are large, green in color, and closer to the tip of the snout than the first gill slit.

Denticles: The skin of the Smallfin Gulper shark is smooth. The dermal denticles are block-shaped. They are wide-spaced and do not overlap.

Tail: There is a deeply notched postventral caudal fin margin and a deep lower lobe in adults.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The distribution of the Smallfin Gulper shark is scattered in the Indo-west Pacific. They have been seen off South Africa and Mozambique, and the western Pacific off Honshū, Japan, Indonesia, New Hebrides, New Caledonia, and southern Australia. They can be found over the outer continental and insular shelves, and the upper slopes between 410-2,690 feet. They are considered demersal to bathydemersal.

Diet: They feed on bony fish, crustaceans, cephalopods and elasmobranchs.

Aesthetic Identification: The Smallfin Gulper shark is grey-brown dorsally, and counter-shaded much paler below. The fin webs are dusky. There is a dark blotch below the first dorsal fin tip in juvenile shark. There is a narrow pale border to the tail and sometimes to the pectoral and pelvic fins. The rear pectoral fin tips are narrowly angular and elongated. The first dorsal fin is short. The second dorsal fin is less than half the height of the first with the spine base well behind the pelvic fins (typically). There is no anal fin.

Biology and Reproduction: The Smallfin Gulper shark is ovoviviparous. They have 2 pups per litter every two years.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Unknown.

Smallfin Gulper Shark Future and Conservation: There isn’t enough data to evaluate the Smallfin Gulper shark, however they are considered endangered off the east coast of Australia. Their population there was depleted more than 95% by deepwater trawls since 1970.

Smallfin Gulper Shark Recorded Attacks on Humans: Not a threat to humans.