This poorly known inhabitant of the ocean depths belongs to a genus typically referred to as the ‘lantern sharks’, on account of the number of species exhibiting tiny light-producing organs on the sides of their body (3)(4). Small and stout bodied, the great lanternshark is generally blackish-brown in colour and possesses hooked denticles resembling tiny teeth on its skin (2)(3). The caudal fin is very broad and like other lantern sharks, the two dorsal fins are each preceded by a single grooved spine, the second of which is large and strongly curved (3). In adaptation to the low light levels of its deepwater environment, the great lanternshark has large, sensitive eyes (4).
Like many other deepwater shark species, very little is known about the biology of the great lanternshark (1). However, examinations of the stomach contents of trawled catches indicate that it mainly feeds on fish, cephalopods and crustaceans(2).
The available evidence indicates that the great lanternshark only occurs in the North and East Central Atlantic, however, there have been unconfirmed reports of this species in the Western Pacific (1)(3).
The great lanternshark is caught as bycatch by deepwater trawlers over much of its range, but owing to the paucity of information on the species and the overall lack of fisheries information, the status of this species is unknown (1).
Given the dearth of species level information, the conservation priority for the great lanternshark is to conduct further research into its biology and ecology, and the extent to which it is being impacted upon by deepwater fisheries (1).
In the fishing industry, the part of the catch made up of non-target species.
The tail fin of a fish.
From the Greek for ‘head-foot', a class of molluscs that occur only in marine habitats. All species have grasping tentacles, and either an internal or external shell. Includes nautiloids, cuttlefish, squids, octopuses, and extinct ammonites and belemnites.
Diverse group of arthropods (a phylum of animals with jointed limbs and a hard chitinous exoskeleton) characterised by the possession of two pairs of antennae, one pair of mandibles (parts of the mouthparts used for handling and processing food) and two pairs of maxillae (appendages used in eating, which are located behind the mandibles). Includes crabs, lobsters, shrimps, slaters, woodlice and barnacles.
In some fish, modified scales that resemble teeth.
In fish, the unpaired fin(s) found on the back of the body.
Jakobsdottir, K.B. (2001) Biological aspects of two deep-water squalid sharks: Centroscyllium fabricii (Reinhardt, 1825) and Etmopterus princeps (Collett, 1904) in Icelandic waters. Fisheries Research, 51: 247 - 265.
Compagno, L.J.V. (1984) FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 4: Sharks of the World. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Part 1: Hexanchiformes to Lamniformes. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome.
Campbell, A. and Dawes, J. (2004) Encyclopedia of Underwater Life. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
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