whitetail dogfish

An extremely rare deep-water shark only caught a couple of times on accident

The Whitetail dogfish (Scymnodalatias albicauda) is a very rare Sleeper shark of the family Somniosidae, found from the Eastern Indian Ocean round Southern Australia to New Zealand, at depths of between 492-1,680 feet. 


Family: Somniosidae – Sleeper sharks

Genus: Scymnodalatias 

Species: albicauda


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles



Common NameDogfish Sharks

Family– Somniosidae

Common NameSleeper Sharks




Average Size and Length: The Whitetail dogfish is born just over 7.9 inches. Adult females range from 2.4 feet and 3.6 feet long.

Teeth and Jaw: The mouth of the Whitetip dogfish is large and arched. The upper teeth are small with very narrow cusps that are erect. The lower teeth are much larger. They are un-serrated and are interlocking. The cusps are high and erect.

Head: The snout is broad, short and rounded. The eyes are horizontally elongated.

Tail: The caudal fin is asymmetrical with a dark tipped upper lobe.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: It can be found in Southern Oceans, in the epipelagic zone. Specifically, from the Eastern Indian Ocean round Southern Australia to New Zealand. They can be found from 0 to 656 feet, but is thought it could inhabit 4,593-13,123 feet, though this is not confirmed and is just speculation. They are typically found near the bottom of the submarine ridge at 1,680 feet.

Aesthetic Identification: The Whitetail dogfish is dark brown or greyish spotted, while counter-shaded light below. Their fin margins are whiteish-grey with white blotches and a dark terminal lobe on the fin. There are no dorsal fin spines. The second dorsal fin is slightly larger than the first and close to the tail. The lower tail margin is half as long as the upper margin. The pectoral fins are angular.

Biology and Reproduction: Whitetail dogfish sharks are ovoviviparous. There litters are very large, with a minimum of 59 pups.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: They are possibly mesopelagic or bathypelagic. They are thought to visit the surface at night.

Whitetail Dogfish Shark Future and Conservation: Whitetip dogfish are rare. They are rarely caught by deep-water trawls and tuna long-lines.

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