The Little Gulper shark is a dogfish found in the deepwaters of the Atlantic, Indian and Western Pacific Oceans. C.S. Rafinesque first described it in 1810.
Little Gulper Shark Scientific Classification
These sharks can grow up to 100-110 cm (3.3-3.6 ft). The maximum length on record is an adult male measuring 110 cm. They are small, with the maximum weight being 7.3 kg or 16 pounds.
Little gulper sharks are greyish-brown, with a lighter bottom and colored patches above the gills and on the dorsal fins. They have a long, pointed snout and characteristic large, green eyes. The teeth are bladelike; however, the ones in the lower jaw are much bigger. The dermal denticles are blunt and flat, which helps to distinguish it from similar species.
The pectoral fins have long, free and pointed rear ends. Spines top both the dorsal fins. The back is slightly hunched before the first dorsal fin, which is short. The second dorsal fin is nearly as high as the first. The tail fin is sharply notched, and there is no anal fin.
Where do they live
Map Of The Little Gulper Shark’s Habitat
These sharks inhabit the Western Atlantic in the Gulf of Mexico and the Eastern Atlantic off Spain, Gibraltar, Senegal, Ivory Coast to Nigeria, Cameroon to Angola, and northern Namibia, down to the Cape of Good Hope. They also occur in the Indian Ocean near Mozambique and India. They were also possibly reported in Taiwan, in the Western North Pacific.
They live on or near the bottom of the continental shelves at depths of 50-1,400 m (165-4600 ft) but are most common at 200 m (655 ft).
Their primary diet is bony fishes and cephalopods.
They follow an ovoviviparous mode of reproduction. There is usually only one pup per litter, measuring around 40-50 cm (1.3-1.6 ft) at birth. The males reach sexual maturity at a length of 81-94 cm, and females mature at 75-89 cm.
The gulper shark gets its name from its highly expandable mouth, which allows it to catch larger prey than other similar-sized sharks. It also shares predatory features such as sharp smell, sight, and a streamlined body with other shark species.
Due to its deepwater habitat, this shark is considered harmless to humans. It is fished commercially and caught as a bycatch by trawlers, line gear, and bottom nets. Its meat is either dried and salted for consumption or used as fishmeal. The liver is a good source of fish liver oil.
The IUCN has listed this shark species as “Endangered” or “EN.”