Tiny illuminated shark in New Caledonia

The Tailspot lanternshark (Etmopterus caudistigmus) is a shark belonging to the family Etmopteridae found around New Caledonia, at depths between 2,093-2,602 feet. Its length is up to 1.1 feet.


Family: Etmopteridae – Lantern Sharks

Genus: Etmopterus 

Species: caudistigmus


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles



Common NameDogfish Sharks

Family– Etmopteridae

Common NameLantern Sharks




Average Size and Length: Mature males have been recorded at 31 cm/1 foot. The maximum recorded length of a female has been 34 cm/1.1 feet.

Head: The head is narrow, and the snout is long, narrow and thick.

Denticles: The dermal denticles are small and close-set that are lateral from regular longitudinal rows on the body and on the tail, but not on the head.

Tail: The tail is long and the photomarks are apparent.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Tailspot lanternshark can be found in the southwest Pacific in New Caledonia. They can be found on insular slopes 2,093-2,602 feet.

Aesthetic Identification: The Tailspot lanternshark is a small shark with a dark almost black ventral side, which may be photophores. The body is slender. There are two dorsal fins with two short fin spines. The first one is smaller than the second one. The second fin spine is weakly curved which points posterodorsally in adults.

Biology and Reproduction: Presumably ovoviviparous.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Unknown.

Tailspot Lanternshark Future and Conservation: At this point, the Tailspot lanternshark is of least concern. There have been 3 specimens caught on longlines by fisheries.

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