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Characteristics, distribution and ecology
Taxonomische classification
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Author: (Lowe, 1839)

Field Marks:
Extremely long snout, no anal fin, grooved dorsal fin spines, compressed cutting teeth in both jaws, pitchfork-shaped small denticles, no subcaudal keel on caudal peduncle, extremely long, low, first dorsal fin.

Diagnostic Features:
First dorsal fin long and low, origin over bases of pectoral fins; distance from origin of first dorsal spine to first dorsal rear tip much greater than distance from freerear tip to second dorsal spine. No subeaudal keel on underside of caudal peduncle. Denticles fairly small, crown length about 0.5 mm long. Colour grey-brown. Maximum size about 111 cm.

Geographical Distribution:
Eastern North Atlantic: Iceland along Atlantic slope to Faeroe Island, Madeira, Mauritania, possibly Senegal, Namibia. Western Indian Ocean: South Africa. Western Pacific: Japan (southern Honshu), southern Australia, New Zealand. Eastern Pacific: Central Chile.

Habitat and Biology:
A common but little-known deepwater dogfish of the outer continental and insular shelves and upper slopes from 73 to 1450 m depth, on or near the bottom or well above it. Ovoviviparous, possibly with litters of 6 to 12, as these were the number of fertilized eggs found in the uteri of some specimens. Eats hatchetfish, scaly dragonfishes (Stomiatidae) and shrimps.

Maximum total length about 111 cm, adults males 70 to 91 cm, females 70 to 111 cm, size at birth above 30 cm.

Interest to Fisheries:
Caught in pelagic trawls in the eastern Atlantic. Caught by line in the western Pacific, for squalene-rich liver oil.

Type material:
Holotype: British Museum (Natural History). Type Locality: Madeira.

Birdbeak dogfish (Deania calcea)