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 Kitefin shark (Dalatias licha)

  Index
> Photo
> Range Map
> Systematics
> Name
> Appearance
> Coloration
> Distribution
> Biology
> Feeding
> Size
> Reproduction
> Similar Species
> Endangerment
> Danger to Humans

 Photo

Kitefin shark
© Doug Perrine / SeaPics
 Range Map

Earth Map


 Systematics

Phylum: Vertebates (Chordata)

Class: Carlilagenous Fishes (Chondrichthyes)
  Order: Dogfish sharks (Squaliformes)
    Family: Dogfish sharks (Squalidae)
      Genus: Dalatias (Dalatias)


 Name

Scientific: Dalatias licha
German: Schokoladenhai
English: Kitefin shark, Bonnaterre's deepwater shark, seal shark
French: Squale liche
Spanish: Carocho


 Appearance

Short, blunt-snouted shark of moderate size. Thick papillose lips. Two nearly same-sized dorsal fins, no spines. The origin of the first dorsal fin is behind the insertion of the pectoral fins. No anal fin.

 Coloration

Greyish to black or dark brown. "Lips" have a pale coloration. Edges of fins are mostly transparent.

 Distribution

Wide ranged but patchy. Western Atlantic: Georges Bank, northern Gulf of Mexico. Eastern Atlantic: North Sea, Scotland, Ireland to Morocco. Western areas of the Mediterranean, Madeira, Azores. West Sahara to Cameron. Indian Ocean: South Africa, Mozambique. Western Pacific: Japan, Australia, New Zealand. Central Pacific: Hawaiian Islands.

 Biology

A common species, patchily distributed. Prefers deeper waters of the outer shelves and slopes down to 1800 m, though most commonly found below 200 m. Kitefin sharks possess big livers that result in near neutral buoyancy and enable them to hover over the substrate. They seem to be solitary.

 Feeding

Feed on fishes, small sharks, cephalopods and crabs.

 Size

Average size between 120 cm and 140 cm, maximum size more than 160 cm.

 Reproduction

Aplacental viviparous (ovoviviparous). Litter size between 10 and 16 offsprings. Size at birth 30 cm. Males reach sexual maturity at about 80 cm to 120 cm, females at about 120 cm to 140 cm.

 Similar Species

Other deepwater sharks have a similiar appearance and taxonomic features have to be used for proper identification.

 Endangerment

Status in the IUCN Red List(1994):

Main criterion: > DD (Data Deficient)
Sub criterion:
Trend: Unknown


 Danger to Humans

Harmless.



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