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
Distribution map
Links to other Web sites

Author: (Linnaeus, 1758)

Field Marks:
Two spined dorsal fins, no anal fin, bladelike unicuspidate teeth in lower jaw and teeth with cusps and cusplets in upper jaw, denticles not in lines and with long slender cusps, abdomen long, tail short, black markings on underside of body and sides of tail prominent.

Diagnostic Features:
A moderately stout-bodied lanternshark with a fairly long tail, distance from pelvic insertions to ventral caudal origin about as long as from tip of snout to first gill openings, slightly less than 1.5 times in distance between pectoral and pelvic bases, and slightly less than interdorsal space; distance between pectoral and pelvic bases moderately long in adults, about 1.2 times head length; distance from snout tip to first dorsal spine about equal to distance from first dorsal spine to second dorsal midbase. Head width about equal to preoral snout; prespiracular length slightly greater than distance from spiracles to pectoral origins; gill openings very short, about as wide as spiracle, 1/3 eye length or less; upper teeth generally with less than 3 pairs of cusplets. Origin of first dorsal fin behind free rear tips of pectoral fins, dorsal fin base much closer to pectoral bases than pelvics; interdorsal space short, about as long as distance from snout tip to pectoral midbases; Racond dorsal fin much larger than first and about twice its area; distance between second dorsal base and upper caudal origin about 2 in interdorsal space; caudal fin moderately long, lengtn ot dorsal caudal margin about equal to distance from snout tip to pectoral insertions. Lateral trunk denticles with very slender, hooked conical crowns, wide-spaced but not arranged in regular longitudinal rows; snout largely covered with denticles; no rows of greatly enlarged denticles on flanks above pectoral fins. Distal margins of fins largely covered with skin, not fringed with naked ceratotrichia. Colour brown above, with underside of snout and abdomen abruptly black, an elongated narrow black mark running above and behind pelvic fins, and other elongated black marks at caudal fin base and along its axis.

Geographical Distribution:
Eastern Atlantic: Iceland and Norway to Morocco, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast to Nigeria, Cameroon to Gabon; Azores, Cape Verde Islands; western Mediterranean; Cape Province, South Africa.

Habitat and Biology:
A common lanternshark found on, near or well above the bottom on the outer continental shelves and upper slopes at depths of 70 to 2000 m, mostly between 200 and 500 m. Ovoviviparous, litter size from 6 to 20. Feeds on small fishes, squids and crustaceans.

Size:
Maximum total length about 60 cm, rare above 45 cm, maturing between 33 and 36 cm, and born at about 12 to 14 cm.

Interest to Fisheries:
Caught offshore in the eastern Atlantic with bottom and pelagic trawls, and utilized for fishmeal and prepared dried salted for human consumption. Probably relatively unimportant, but statistics for catches of this species are lacking.

Type material:
Holotype: Unknown. Type Locality: "Europa".

Velvet belly (Etmopterus spinax)