Rare and little-known shark in the Indian and Pacific Oceans

The Southern dogfish (Centrophorus zeehaani) is a species of shark in the family Centrophoridae. It was first described in 2008 by White, Ebert & Compagno. Below is the original description.


Family: Centrophoridae – Gulper Sharks

Genus: Centrophorus 

Species: zeehaani


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles



Common NameDogfish Sharks

Family– Centrophoridae

Common Name– Gulpher Sharks




Average Size and Length: The maximum recorded length of a male has been 3 feet, and the maximum recorded length for a female has been 102.7 cm or 3.7 feet.

Average Weight: Unknown.

Current Rare Mythical Sightings: Australia and India so far.

Teeth and Jaw: The upper teeth are upright and only slightly oblique laterally. They are a different shape and much smaller than lower teeth. Juveniles have more oblique cusps, but not strongly oblique. There are 37-45/30-33 in the tooth row count (based on non-type skeletal specimens, n=8).

Head: The head of the Southern dogfish is moderately long and robust and the snout is moderately long. The length of the head is between 23.3-24.3% of the total length. It is 2.5-2.9 times the mouth width and its width is between 11.8-13.1% of the total length. Its pre-oral length is between 9.4-10.1% of the total length. It is 1.6-1.9 times head height at the anterior of the mouth. It is between 1.0-1.2 times the mouth width. The horizontal preorbital length is between 5.6-6.3% of the total length. The horizontal prenarial length is between 3.4-4.2% of the total length. It has a large mouth at a width of between 8.3-9.6% of the total length. The width at the anterior of the nostrils is between 5.5-6.3% of the total length.

Denticles: The flank dermal denticles are flat, block-like and are not overlapping. There are scalloped edges.

Tail: It has moderately sized pectoral fins. Its anterior margin is between 11.4-12.6% of the total length, 2.3-2.8 times base length. It has a large caudal fin; its dorsal caudal margin is between 17.9-20.8% of the total length. It is between 2.6-2.9 times the dorsal-caudal space.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Southern dogfish is found in the Indian and Pacific Oceans of Australia and in India. They are considered bathydemersal with a depth range of 682-2,300 feet, but typically stay around 1,312 feet. They prefer subtropical temperatures.

Diet: Unknown.

Ram-Suction Index: Not evaluated.

Aesthetic Identification: The Southern dogfish has several distinguishing characteristics. The dorsal fins of juveniles have a distinct blackish margin extending from mid-anterior margin to near free rear tip while in adults with a less distinct, but obvious, dark margin. It is 4.9-5.4 in pre-second dorsal length. The length of the pre-second dorsal fin is between 62.8-64.8% of the total length. It is between 8.3-9.8 times the dorsal-caudal space. The length of the pre-first dorsal is between 28.3-30.7% of the total length. The interdorsal space is between 20.0-23.7% of the total length. It is between 3.0-3.5 times the dorsal-caudal space. The dorsal-caudal space is between 6.4-7.9% of the total length. It is between 4.2-4.7 in the pectoral-pelvic space. It has a moderately-sized first dorsal fin. Its height is between 6.0-7.0% of the total length. It has a relatively robust spine; its base width is between 0.9-1.2% of the total length.

Biology and Reproduction: Unknown, but presumably ovoviviparous. Total vertebral centra, 54-56 (55.2) monospondylous precaudal centra; 28-31 (29.4) diplospondylous precaudal centra; 84-86 (84.7) precaudal centra; 31 (30-32) diplospondylous caudal centra.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Unknown.

Speed: Unknown.

Southern Dogfish Future and Conservation: Not enough data to evaluate.

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