Home|Search|Identify|Taxonomic tree|Quiz|About this site|Feedback
Developed by ETI BioInformatics
Characteristics, distribution and ecology
Taxonomische classification
Synonyms and common names
Literature references
Images, audio and video
Links to other Web sites

Author: Bocage and Capello, 1864

Field Marks:
Dark brown coloration, no anal fin, dorsal fins with very small fin spines, very short snout, lanceolate upper teeth and bladelike lower teeth with short, oblique cusps, stocky body that does not taper abruptly from pectoral region, very large lateral trunk denticles with smooth, circular, acuspidate crowns in adults and subadults.

Diagnostic Features:
Body stocky, not strongly tapering back from pectoral region. Snout short, preoral length much less than distance from mouth to first gill slits and less than mouth width; lips not thick and fleshy; upper labial furrows very short, their lengths much less than distance between their front ends; lower teeth with very short, strongly oblique cusps and high, narrow roots. Dorsal fins about equal in size and height, fin spines Very small but with tips protruding from fins; first dorsal base not extending forwards as a prominent ridge, origin behind pectorals; second dorsal base shorter than space between it and upper caudal origin, free rear tip well in front of upper caudal origin; pectoral fins moderately large, apices falling well in front of first dorsal spine when laid back; free rear tips of pelvic fins extending behind second dorsal insertion. Lateral trunk denticles very large, with smooth, circular, ridgeless and acuspidate crowns, giving shark an almost teleostlike appearance. Colour blackish brown.

Geographical Distributlon:
Western North Atlantic: Grand Banks to Delaware Bay. Eastern Atlantic: Iceland south along Atlantic slope to Senegal, Azores, Madeira, Guinea to Sierra Leone, and southern Namibia to the southwestern Cape coast of South Africa; also western Mediterranean. Western Pacific: ? South China Sea, New Zealand.

Habitat and Biology:
A common, wide-ranging but little-known deepwater shark, on or near the bottom on the continental slopes. Recorded mostly at depths below 400 m, with a depth range of 270 to 3675 m. Lives at water temperatures of 5 to 13°C. Development ovoviviparous, with 13 to 16 young per litter. Eats bony fishes.

Maximum total length about 114 cm, most adults about 90 to 95 cm.

Interest to Fisheries:
A common deepwater shark, caught in bottom trawls, deepwater fixed nets, and line gear. Utilized in the eastern Atlantic for fishmeal, and dried salted for human consumption.

Chu et al. (1982) recently described a new species of Centroscymnus, C. macrops, that is very close to and possibly identical to this species. J.A.F. Garrick (pers. comm.) has records of C. coelolepis itself from New Zealand.

Type material:
Holotype: Museu Bocage, Lisbon, Portugal, MB T 113, lost in fire. Type Locality: Off Portugal.

Portuguese dogfish (Centroscymnus coelolepis)