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Species: Etmopterus pusillus, Smooth Lantern Shark

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D1 origin > 1/3 interdorsal space behind pectoral axil
D1 spine < D1 base
denticles blunt, no points

Etmopterus pusillus (Lowe, 1839)

Smooth Lantern Shark

Body slender; head and snout flattened, short, thick, at level of eyes head is wider than deep; snout short, thick, flat, broadly rounded; no nictitating eyelids; spiracle large, behind eye; mouth short, at acute angle; upper teeth with a long, central point plus generally 2 (female)-4 (male) smaller points on each side, 23-31 rows, lower teeth compressed and blade-like, with small, oblique tips that do not become more erect in large fish, particularly males, 30-53 rows; five gill slits, all before pectoral base, relatively long; two dorsal fins, second bigger than first, both with long thick grooved spines; first dorsal located behind pectorals, distance from pectoral axil to 1st dorsal >1/3 interdorsal space, center of first dorsal nearer pectoral fin axil than origin of pelvics; 1st dorsal spine short, slender, < 1st dorsal base; pectoral small, rounded to angular; no anal fin; no ridges between pectoral and pelvic fins, no precaudal pits, no keel on tail base; tail short, broad tail fin strongly asymmetrical, notch at top; denticles on sides of body without points, block-like, wide-spaced, not arranged in rows, skin smooth.

Dark brown to blackish, a little darker below; a small white blotch between eyes; fins with light edges; conspicuous dark areas on side of head, above & behind pelvic fin, at lower origin of tail fin, on underside of pectoral; luminescent organs visible as black dots and streaks on underside of head and body.

Size: 50 cm.

Habitat: Outer continental shelf and upper slopes; partly epipelagic in open ocean.

Depth: 0-1998 m.

Atlantic: Gulf of Mexico; records from the Indo-Pacific may be another species.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Offshore
  • Offshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom + water column
  • Mid Water
  • Near Bottom
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Water column
FishBase Habitat
  • Bentho-Pelagic
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Sharks/rays
  • Bony fishes
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Live birth
  • No pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • Transatlantic (East+West Atlantic)
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • GC non-endemic
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 50
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 1998