Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Dalatias licha, Kitefin Shark

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cylindrical body
Ds widely separated, D1 < D2
D1 nearer pectoral than pelvic
lips fringed, white
lower teeth: 17-20 serrated triangles

Dalatias licha (Bonnaterre, 1788)

Kitefin Shark

Body elongate, cylindrical; head narrow and conical; snout short, blunt; no nictitating eyelids; large spiracles behind eye; mouth small, lips thick and with pleats or fringes; upper teeth narrow, needle-like, lower teeth very large, compressed, broad, triangular, serrated, larger than upper; 5 small gill slits, all before pectoral; both dorsal fins small, rounded, narrow, first smaller that second, fins are widely separated, without spines, first dorsal closer to pectoral than pelvic; origin of first behind pectoral; origin of second near pelvic rear base; no anal fin; no lateral ridges between pectoral and pelvic fins; no pits on upper tail base; no keel on tail base; tail fin asymmetrical, lower lobe not expanded, terminal notch under tip of top lobe; skin denticals with low, flat, ridged single points.

Dark grey-brown to black with edges of fins translucent; lips or their corners white.

Size: 180 cm.

Habitat: Found in on bottom to midwater on outer continental and insular shelves.

Depth: 37 -1800 m, usually > 200 m.

Scattered locations around the world (except the E Pacific) in subtropical to temperate areas; Georges Bank to the Gulf of Mexico, to the SE Caribbean.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom + water column
  • Near Bottom
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Water column
  • Mud
FishBase Habitat
  • Bathydemersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Sharks/rays
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
  • Pelagic jellyfish/ctenophores
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Live birth
  • No pelagic larva
  • No pelagic phase
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Circumtropical ( Indian + Pacific + Atlantic Oceans)
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • GC non-endemic
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Temperate (>35N)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Vulnerable
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 180
Depth Range Min
  • 37
Depth Range Max
  • 1800