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Author: (Linnaeus, 1758)

Etmopterus spinax (Linnaeus, 1758)

Diagnosis: snout long, tip rounded, narrowing abruptly in front of eye; nostrils midway from snout tip to eye; eye longer than distance from snout tip to eye. Mouth width slightly less than snout length; short preoral clefts and labial folds. Upper teeth tri-cuspid, medial cusp much larger, Iower teeth with strongly oblique (almost lateral) cusp, cutting surface horizontal and almost entire. Spiracle above and behind eye. Gill openings similar in size to spiracle. Second dorsal fin origin over pelvic fin bases; caudal fin with poorly defined sub-terminal notch on upper lobe, lower lobe poorly differentiated. Dermal denticles with conspicuous median spine. Colour: brown above, with a pale spot between eyes and a dark stripe along lateral line; black below, the dark pattern on ventral surface distinctive; photophores present ventrally. Size: to 45 cm.

Habitat: benthic on shelf and slopes, from 70 to 2,000 m, but mostly below 200 m. Food: no data. Reproduction: ?ovoviviparous.

Distribution: northward to Iceland and Norway, but missing from Baltic and rarely occurring in North Sea; also western Mediterranean. Elsewhere, south to Senegal; also, southern Africa.

Complementary iconography. Andersson, 1942: col. pl. 70 | Rasmussen & Dannevig in Rollefsen et al., 1960: fig. 189 | Muus & Dahlström, 1965: 46-47, fig. 1 | Marshall, 1971: col. fig. 475.
Eggs, embryonic and young stages. Punnet, 1904: 313-362, 1 pl. | Capapé, 1974a: 244.

Velvet belly (Etmopterus spinax)