Smooth Lanternshark

The smooth lanternshark, or as it is sometimes referred to as the slender lanternshark, is a common species of lanternshark seen in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Smooth Lanternshark Scientific Classification

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Chondrichthyes
Order Squaliformes
Family Etmopteridae
Genus Etmopterus
Scientific Name E. pusillus


Reaching a max length of 20 inches, the smooth lanternshark has a large head with a pointed snout, large eyes, and skin flaps covering the nostrils.  Inside the shark’s mouth, one can observe 22–31 tooth rows in the upper jaw and 30–53 tooth rows in the lower jaw.

Both dorsal fins have a spine characteristic of all dogfish. The denticles on the skin of this shark are widely spaced, giving them the smooth appearance that gives it its name.

This shark is uniformly dark brown, with black marks on the pelvic fins.

Where do they live

Smooth lanternsharks have a wide distribution, with sightings in the Atlantic Ocean from the Gulf of Mexico to Argentina in the west and Portugal to South Africa in the east, KwaZulu-Natal and Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, and from the East China Sea to southern Japan in the Pacific Ocean.

These sharks live on continental and insular shelves and slopes at depths of 899–3,281 ft.



Their diet consists of fish eggs, lanternfish, squid, and smaller dogfish. They may even consume crustaceans and fish.


Females give live birth to 10 pups. Sexual maturity is observed in males at 12–15 inches and females at 15–19 inches.

Male smooth lanternsharks have a lifespan of 13 years, while females tend to live a bit longer at 17 years.

Interactions with humans

While sometimes the smooth lanternshark is dried and sold, mostly whenever caught, it is released immediately again. Despite a low reproductive rate, the IUCN lists the shark as “Least Concern” or “LC”.

Recommended Blog Posts

Famous Sharks