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Family: ETMOPTERIDAE, Lantern Sharks


All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

both Ds - grooved spine; D1 < D2
D1 origin behind pectoral free rear tip
C: asymmetric, top lobe notched; tail base no keel
top teeth: 1 large + small side points
no A
belly - usually light organs

FAMILY ETMOPTERIDAE

LANTERN SHARKS

Small sharks with cylindrical to slightly compressed bodies; snout short; no nictitating eyelids; spiracle large, just behind eye; mouth short, at acute angle; top and bottom teeth similar or dissimilar, upper teeth with 1 slender and several smaller points; five small gill slits, all before pectoral base; two dorsal fins, first generally smaller than second, both with long thick grooved spines; origin of first dorsal behind rear margin of pectoral; no ridges between pectoral and pelvic fins; no anal fin; no keel on tail base; no precaudal pits; tail fin strongly asymmetrical, notch under top lobe; usually conspicuous black marks and luminescent organs from belly along tail base.

A circumglobal distribution, with two genera and two dozen species found in the  tropics to cold temperate areas, in most seas. One west Atlantic species enters shallow waters in our region. Generally found in deep water near the bottom on continental and insular slopes, lantern sharks eat fishes, cephalopods, crustaceans and sea squirts.

PREPARED BY D ROSS ROBERTSON, AFTER CARPENTER (2002)