Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Mitsukurina owstoni, Elfin Shark, Goblin Shark

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

body soft, flabby, pink
snout = very long, flat blade
C long, no lower lobe
jaws protrusible
teeth: 1 long, slender point

Mitsukurina owstoni Jordan, 1898

Goblin Shark, Elfin Shark

Body compressed, slender, very soft and flabby; head nearly as long as the body trunk; snout greatly elongated, flattened, blade–like; eyes small; mouth large, broadly arched, with highly protrusible jaws; teeth large, front and side teeth very slender with one cusp, similar in both jaws, rear teeth small and blunter; 35 - 53 upper, 31 - 62 lower; gill slits short, all before pectoral base, gill filaments partially exposed; dorsal fins small, rounded, similar size, smaller than pelvic and anal fins; pectoral fins small, broadly rounded; pelvic fins large; tail base compressed, without keels pits before tail fin; tail fin long, top margin elongate but <1/2 body length, no lower lobe; skin denticles small, with erect, narrow, spike–like cusps and ridges; cusps of lateral denticles pointing perpendicular to surface of skin making it rough.

Uniform pinkish– white; with bluish fins.

Reaches 550-617 cm

Probably midwater over deepwater

Depth range 30-1300, typically 270-960 m.

All three oceans; the Gulf of Mexico to Brazil.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Offshore
  • Offshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Mid Water
  • Near Surface
  • Water column only
  • Water column
FishBase Habitat
  • Bathypelagic
  • Pelagic
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
  • Bony fishes
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
  • Pelagic crustacea
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Live birth
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Circumtropical ( Indian + Pacific + Atlantic Oceans)
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 617
Depth Range Min
  • 30
Depth Range Max
  • 1300