Species: Somniosus microcephalus, Greenland Shark, Large Sleeper Shark
Somniosus microcephalus (Bloch & Schneider, 1801)
Greenland Shark, Large Sleeper Shark
Body cylindrical, heavy; head short (snout to pectorals 23% TL); snout short, rounded, without barbels; eyes on side of head, without nictitating membranes; spiracles large, just behind eyes; mouth short, nearly transverse; top teeth narrow, needle-like, with a single cusp, non-overlapping, 35-39 rows; bottom teeth blades, overlapping, with low, broad, strongly oblique cusps, 45-57 rows; gill slits 5, all before pectoral fin; 2 dorsal fins without spines, equal sized, low; origin of 1st dorsal in middle of back, insertion slightly closer to pelvics than to pectorals; no anal fin; pelvic fins ~equal to or larger than 2nd dorsal; tail base short (distance between 2nd dorsal base and upper tail fin origin < 2X 2nd dorsal fin base); tail fin strongly asymmetrical, paddle shaped, lower lobe long, moderately large; no keels before base of tail fin; flank denticles with erect narrow crowns and hooked points.
Mid-grey to brown; sometimes with dark bars & small light and dark spots and blotches.
Reaches 640 cm, possibly 730 cm.
Depth range 0 - 2992 m.
North Atlantic; Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.
Note: recent records off Belize and Colombia likely are this species.
High Resolution Map Download
- In & Offshore
- Water Column Position
- Bottom + water column
- Near Bottom
- Water column
- Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
- Reef and soft bottom
- Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
- FishBase Habitat
- Reef Associated
- Feeding Group
- Bony fishes
- Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
- Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
- Pelagic jellyfish/ctenophores
- Sea snakes/mammals/turtles/birds
- Egg Type
- Live birth
- Global Endemism
- All species
- Greater Caribbean non-endemic
- Transatlantic (East+West Atlantic)
- Regional Endemism
- Continent only
- Extends North of GC
- GC non-endemic
- All species
- Climate Zone
- Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
- Temperate (>35N)
- IUCN Red List
- Near threatened
- Not listed
- Length Max
- Depth Range Min
- Depth Range Max