Plunket Shark

About the Plunket Shark

The Scymnodon Plunketi, also known as the Plunket Shark, is a sleeper shark of the Somniosidae family. Mainly found around south eastern Australia and New Zealand.


The Plunket Shark is of a dark grey colour, it has dorsal fins with very small fin spines, a very short snout. With lanceolate upper teeth and bladelike lower teeth with short and oblique cusps. Their body is very stocky that tapers abruptly from the pectoral region. This species is ovoviviparous with up to 36 pups in a litter. The maximum size ranges from 129 cm to 170 cm TL. Maturity is reached at 131 cm TL for males and at 170 cm Tl for females. Size at birth ranges between 32 to 36 cm TL. Distinct pairing with embrace.


This species is mainly found in continental slopes from 200 1,500 m. Occurs mainly around central and southern New Zealand. There is a trend for fish size to increase with depth, having the females occur in deeper waters.


The Plunket shark occurs in large schools near the bottom which are segregated according to size and sex. They feed on cephalopods and bony fishes. This species is used for fishmeal and liver oil.

Threats and conservation:

The species is usually caught as bycatch in some deepwater trawls and line fisheries. Its aggregating behaviour makes it susceptible to localized depletion. No conservation measures are in place for this species.

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Scientific Name Scymnodon plunketi
OrderDog and Angelfish Sharks - Squaliformes
CitesNot Listed
IUCNNear Threatened
Litter Size 35
Common Length 131 cm
Max LenghtNA
Depth Range 219-1550 m
DistributionSouthwest Pacific