Tags: Taxonomy,  Dogfish Sharks,  Bioluminescence 

Dogfish Sharks

Order: Squaliform

Dogfish sharks are the second largest of shark orders with 119 species. Dogfish come in all shapes, sizes, and colors and they live in almost every ocean habitat and depth. This group of sharks are an exercise in extremes. Dogfish are represented by what is thought to be the smallest shark species (Dwarf lantern shark, which only grows to about 6 inches) and some of the largest (Greenland and Sleeper sharks).

These sharks can also be found at extreme depths, down to thousands of meters! Some species have nasty-looking spines accessorizing their dorsal fins, while others hardly look like a shark at all with tall sail-like dorsal fins. Other species are bioluminescent, with dazzling displays of vivid greenish bands potentially used to attract and confuse prey, or to hide from predators. Dogfish sharks are an excellent example of the exciting biodiversity that can be found among sharks!

Photo Gallery

With over 100 species, Dogfish literally come in all shapes and sizes.

Characteristics of Dogfish Sharks

# of Species


Body shape

Rounded; varied according to species

Mouth position


Anal fin


Dorsal Fin


Fin spines


# of Gill slits



Ovoviviparous (eggs develop in the mother’s body and are born alive).

Unique qualities

Many bioluminescent


Marine; most species bottom oriented. Widely diversified and wide-ranging, dogfish sharks are in coastal and oceanic waters, from cool temperate to deep tropical waters


Diverse as are the species. Range from boney fishes, crustacea, to marine mammals


The 119 Species of Dogfish Shark

Family Squalidae - Dogfish Sharks - 20 species


Common name

Cirrhigaleus asper

Roughskin Spurdog

Cirrhigaleus barbifer

Mandarin Dogfish

Squalus acanthias

Spiny Dogfish

Squalus blainvillei

Longnose Spurdog

Squalus brevirostris

Japanese Shortnose Spurdog

Squalus cubensis

Cuban Dogfish

Squalus grahami (Squalus sp. F)

Eastern Longnose Spurdog

Squalus japonicus

Japanese Spurdog

Squalus lalannei

Seychelles Spurdog

Squalus megalops

Shortnose Spurdog

Squalus melanurus

Blacktail Spurdog

Squalus mitsukurii

Shortspine Spurdog

Squalus probatovi

Angola Dogfish

Squalus rancureli

Cyrano Spurdog

Squalus sp. A

Bartail Spurdog

Squalus sp. B

Eastern Highfin Spurdog

Squalus sp. C

Western Highfin Spurdog

Squalus sp. D

Fatspine Spurdog

Squalus sp. E

Western Longnose Spurdog

Squalus sp. G

Philippines Longnose Spurdog

Family Centrophoridae - Gulper Sharks - 15 species


Common name

Centrophorus acus

Needle Dogfish

Centrophorus atromarginatus

Dwarf Gulper Shark

Centophorus granulosus

Gulper Shark

Centrophorus harrissoni

Harrison's Dogfish, Dumb Gulper Shark,

Centrophorus isodon

Blackfin Gulper Shark

Centrophorus lusitanicus

Lowfin Gulper Shark

Centrophorus moluccensis

Smallfin Gulper Shark

Centrophorus niaukang

Taiwan Gulper Shark

Centrophorus sechellorum

Seychelles Gulper Shark

Centrophorus squamosus

Leafscale Gulper Shark, Deepwater Spiny Dogfish

Centrophorus tessellatus

Mosaic Gulper Shark

Centrophorus sp. A

New Caledonian Gulper Shark

Deania calcea

Birdbeak Dogfish

Deania hystricosum

Rough Longnose Dogfish

Deania profundorum

Arrowhead Dogfish

Deania quadrispinosum

Longsnout Dogfish

Family Etmopteridae - Lantern Sharks - 51 species


Common name

Aculeola nigra

Hooktooth Dogfish

Centroscyllium excelsum

Highfin Dogfish

Centroscyllium fabricii

Black Dogfish

Centroscyllium granulatum

Granular Dogfish

Centroscyllium kamoharai

Bareskin Dogfish

Centroscyllium nigrum

Combtooth Dogfish

Centroscyllium ornatum

Ornate Dogfish

Centroscyllium ritteri

Whitefin Dogfish

Etmopterus baxteri

New Zealand Lanternshark

Etmopterus bigelowi

Blurred Smooth Lanternshark

Etmopterus brachyurus

Shorttail Lanternshark

Etmopterus bullisi

Lined Lanternshark

Etmopterus burgessi

Taiwan Lanternshark

Etmopterus carteri

Cylindrical Lanternshark

Etmopterus caudistigmus

Tailspot Lanternshark

Etmopterus compagnoi

Brown Lanternshark

Etmopterus decacuspidatus

Combtooth Lanternshark

Etmopterus dianthus

Pink Lanternshark

Etmopterus dislineatus

Lined Lanternshark

Etmopterus evansi

Blackmouth Lanternshark

Etmopterus fuscus

Pygmy Lanternshark

Etmopterus gracilispinis

Broadband Lanternshark

Etmopterus granulosus

Southern Lanternshark

Etmopterus hillianus

Caribbean Lanternshark

Etmopterus litvinovi

Smalleye Lanternshark

Etmopterus lucifer

Blackbelly Lanternshark

Etmopterus molleri

Slendertail Lanternshark

Etmopterus perryi

Dwarf Lanternshark

Etmopterus polli

African Lanternshark

Etmopterus princeps

Great Lanternshark

Etmopterus pseudosqualiolus

False Pygmy Shark

Etmopterus pusillus

Smooth Lanternshark

Etmopterus pycnolepis

Densescale Lanternshark

Etmopterus robinsi

West Indian Lanternshark

Etmopterus schmidti

Darkbelly Lanternshark

Etmopterus schultzi

Fringefin Lanternshark

Etmopterus sentosus

Thorny Lanternshark

Etmopterus spinax

Velvet Belly

Etmopterus splendidus

Splendid Lanternshark

Etmopterus tasmaniensis

Tasmanian Lanternshark

Etmopterus unicolor

Brown Lanternshark

Etmopterus villosus

Hawaiian Lanternshark

Etmopterus virens

Green Lanternshark

Etmopterus sp. B

Bristled Lanternshark

Etmopterus sp.

Guadalupe Lanternshark

Etmopterus sp.

Chillean Lanternshark

Etmopterus sp. near brachyurus

Sculpted Lanternshark (southern Africa)

Etmopterus sp. near princeps

(Inaccessible Island)

Etmopterus sp. near baxteri

Giant Lanternshark (southern Africa)

Miroscyllium skeiko

Rasptooth Dogfish

Trigonognathus kabeyai

Viper Dogfish

Family Somniosidae - Sleeper Sharks - 18 species


Common name

Centroscymnus coelolepis

Portuguese Dogfish

Centroscymnus owstoni

Roughskin Dogfish

Centroselachus crepidator

Longnose Velvet Dogfish

Proscymnodon macracanthus

Largespine Velvet Dogfish

Proscymnodon plunketi

Plunket Shark

Scymnodalatias albicauda

Whitetail Dogfish

Scymnodalatias garricki

Azores Dogfish

Scymnodalatias oligodon

Sparsetooth Dogfish

Scymnodalatias sherwoodi

Sherwood Dogfish

Scymnodon ringens

Knifetooth Dogfish

Somniosus antarcticus

Southern Sleeper Shark

Somniosus longus

Frog Shark

Somniosus microcephalus

Greenland Shark

Somniosus pacificus

Pacific Sleeper Shark

Somniosus rostratus

Little Sleeper Shark

Somniosus sp?

Longnose Sleeper Shark

Zameus ichiharai

Japanese Velvet Dogfish

Zameus squamulosus

Velvet Dogfish

Family Oxynotidae - Rough Sharks - 5 species


Common name

Oxynotus bruniensis

Prickly Dogfish

Oxynotus caribbaeus

Caribbean Roughshark

Oxynotus centrina

Angular Roughshark

Oxynotus japonicus

Japanese Roughshark

Oxynotus paradoxus

Sailfin Roughshark

Family Dalatiidae - Kitefin Sharks - 10 species

Dalatias licha

Kitefin Shark

Euprotomicroides zantedeschia

Taillight Shark

Euprotomicrus bispinatus

Pygmy Shark

Heteroscymnoides marleyi

Longnose Pygmy Shark

Isistius brasiliensis

Cookiecutter Shark

Isistius labialis

South China Cookiecutter Shark

Isistius plutodus

Largetooth Cookie Cutter Shark

Mollisquama parini

Pocket Shark

Squaliolus aliae

Smalleye Pygmy Shark

Squaliolus laticaudus

Spined Pygmy Shark


Red indicates inclusion on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species