The Gollum of Sulu. Maybe it even lives in a cave

The Sulu Gollumshark (Gollum suluensis) is a species belonging to the family Pseudotriakidae, found off the southern Philippines. Sulu. This is a recently described species, not much is known about them.

Family: Pseudotriakidae – False Catsharks and Gollumsharks

Genus: Gollum 

Species: suluensis


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles


Common NameGround Sharks

Family– Pseudotriakidae

Common NameFalse Catsharks and Gollumsharks




Average Size and Length: Their length at birth is uncertain, as well as their total length during adulthood. The maximum is at least 54 cm/1.8 feet; one measurement was 58 cm/1.9 feet.

Current Rare Mythical Sightings: Named in reference to the Sulu Sea, an important marine region of the southern Philippines with a rich biodiversity, which is also the type locality of this shark. A mentioned before, Gollum is really in reference to Lord of the Rings.

Teeth and Jaw: The mouth is dark and angular, extending behind the eyes. The labial furrows are short.

Head: The Sulu Gollumshark has a shorter snout than other Gollumsharks. It still has a broad, flat, bell-shaped head. The head relatively broad, 12–14% of the total length. The direct preorbital snout length is 1.2–1.4 times the interorbital space. The head length is 2.3–2.6 times the mouth width, 8.0–9.0 times the nostril width, and 3.0–3.5 times the preventral caudal-fin margin. Snout is broadly parabolic. The direct preorbital snout length is between 2.1–2.4 times eye length. The preoral length is 0.8–1.0 of the mouth width, 1.3 times the prenarial length. The eye is 1.4–1.5 times nostril length, more than 4.8 times the spiracle length. The eyes are cat-like and elongated.

Tail: The web of the terminal caudal lobe is light edged with dark grey or blackish. The ventral margin of caudal fin dusky, not strongly contrasted with rest of the fin.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Sulu Gollumshark can be found in the southwestern Pacific Ocean in the Sulu Sea in the Philippines, presumably in deep water on the upper continental slope or upper shelf. They are tropical benthopelagic. Specimen was collected at 2,395 feet.

Aesthetic Identification: The Sulu Gollumshark is a smaller, soft-bodied Gollum species, and is plain dark grey to dark greyish brown dorsally, and lighter ventrally. There are no conspicuous white markings on the body or the fins. There is a narrow light posterior margin on the dorsal fins, pectoral fins and pelvic fins. The ventral head is dusky, not strongly contrasted with the dorsal surface along its lateral margin. The length of the pectoral-fin anterior margin is 2.2–2.5 times its base. The first dorsal-fin inner margin is 0.5–0.6 of the pectoral-fin base. The second dorsal-fin base is 10–12% of the total length. The posterior edges of the dorsal fins are not excessively concave. The tips of the dorsal fins are dark.

Biology and Reproduction: Mostly unknown. The monospondylous centra is 44–45, diplospondylous centra is 107–109, with a total centra of 151–154.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Unknown.

Sulu Gollumshark Future and Conservation: There is not enough data to evaluate. The species has just been recently described. It was previously just sp. A.

Sulu Gollumshark Recorded Attacks on Humans: Not a threat to humans.