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Dwarf Lanternshark Facts

The dwarf lanternshark is a small species of dogfish shark in the family Etmopteridae. It is the smallest shark in the world and can be identified by its long flattened head and patterns of black ventral markings.

They are a new species of shark with needle-shaped dermal denticles. They were discovered by American ichthyologists in 1964 and named in honor of noted shark biologist Perry Gilbert.

The dwarf lanternshark inhabits the upper continental slope in the Caribbean Sea between Colombia and Venezuela.

This shark is dark brown and has two large dorsal fins bearing grooved spines in front. It has no anal fin and a low caudal fin with a ventral notch and a ventral black band on the end of its caudal fin.

Dwarf Lanternshark Facts for Kids

  • It’s the smallest member of the dogfish family.
  • It’s the smallest shark in the ocean.
  • They live in total darkness.
  • Dwarf lantern sharks are named that way because of their ability to glow in the dark.
  • Dwarf Lantern Sharks glow because of their skin.
  • They use their glowing skin to attract prey and to hide from predators.
  • Dwarf Lantern Sharks have internal fertilization.
  • Female gives birth to 2 to 4 babies.
  • Young sharks are 2.2 inches long at birth.

How big can a dwarf lantern shark get

Dwarf lantern sharks grow to around 10 cm long and weigh between 1 kg and 2 kg. They feed mainly on crustaceans but will take small fish and squid too. They are not considered commercially important, so they are rarely caught by commercial fisheries.

Are dwarf lantern sharks endangered

There has been no recent information available on this species. This may change if it becomes threatened by fishing pressure.

More Amazing Facts about the Dwarf Lantern Shark

Lantern sharks are the smallest sharks in the world. The average size is 6 inches and 0.5 ounces. However, females are larger than males.

They are dark brown in color. The central part of their bodies is black. The dorsal side of their bodies is black.

Facts for Kids
Facts for Kids

One-third of the dwarf lantern shark’s body is taken up by its long, flattened head. The large, elongated eyes of dwarf lantern sharks allow them to see in almost complete darkness.

Short trunk, large spines on the dorsal fin, and short caudal fin on dwarf lantern shark. 

Dwarf lantern sharks have slicing teeth. The upper jaw has 20 to 23 rows of teeth, while the lower jaw has 30 to 34 rows.

The lateral sides of the body are covered with 5 small gill slits.

Dwarf lantern sharks have thin, V-shaped scales called dermal denticles covering their skin.

A dwarf lantern shark is a carnivore. It eats krill, which are tiny crustaceans.

They are called dwarf lantern sharks because they are small and glow in the dark.

Dwarf lantern sharks have bioluminescence like many deep-sea creatures. Photophores, organs that emit light, are located on the belly and fins.

Using their growing belly to conceal their silhouette from below, dwarf lantern sharks attract prey by producing light and hide from predators by becoming invisible to them.

Parasites shorten the lifespan of dwarf lantern sharks.

The size of dwarf lantern sharks affects their sexual maturity. When males reach 6.3 to 6.9 inches in length, they are ready to reproduce. By 6.1 inches, females are ready to mate.

The dwarf lantern shark is internally fertilized. The female gives birth to 2 to 3 babies after a short pregnancy. A newborn shark has a length of 2.2 to 2.4 inches at birth.