Dwarf Lanternshark

About the Dwarf Lanternshark

The Dwarf lanternshark is a little-known species of dogfish shark in the family Etmopteridae, the smallest shark in the world, found in Colombia and Venezuela.

Biology and Description:

The Dwarf lanternshark appears to reach a maximum size of about 20 cm TL. It has a long, wide, flattened head comprising a fourth to a fifth of its total length. The eyes are large, with the anterior and posterior corners acute. There are 25-35 tooth rows in the upper jaw and 30-34 tooth rows in the lower jaw. The trunk is short with two relatively close, large dorsal fins bearing grooved spines in the front. There is no anal fin. The caudal fin is low, with a moderate lower lobe and a ventral notch near the tip of the upper lobe. The skin is covered by thin, needle-like dermal denticles. This shark is dark brown with a striking and distinctive pattern of black markings on its ventral surface, a continuous or broken, fine black line along the middle of its back. some of the ventral black markings are composed of light-producing photophores, while others are composed of pigment-containing chromatophores. This species is ovoviviparous, with the developing fetuses being sustained by a yolk sac until birth. Females bear litters of two or three young, each measuring 5.5–6.0 cm (2.2–2.4 in) long.


The Dwarf lanternshark is a bathypelagic species found off the coasts of Colombia and Venezuela, occurring between Barranquilla and Santa Marta, near the Guajira Peninsula, and between the Los Testigos Island and Grenada. This shark apparently inhabits the upper continental slope at a depth of 283–439 m.


There are currently no conservation measures in place for this species. Like other deepwater chondrichthyan species, more information regarding its biology, ecology, and importance in fisheries is required. Listed as “Data Deficient” by the IUCN.  

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Scientific Name Etmopterus perryi
OrderDog and Angelfish Sharks - Squaliformes
CitesNot Listed
IUCNData Deficient
Litter Size Unknown
Common Length 17.0 cm
Max LenghtNA
Depth Range 283 - 439 m
DistributionWestern Central Atlantic