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Family Mitsukurinidae
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Order: Lamniformes
Family: Mitsukurinidae
Genus: Mitsukurina
Species: Mitsukurina owstoni
Defining Characteristics:
Elongated, flattened snout with electroreceptors
Mouth ventral
Jaws highly protrusible
Small eyes
Five gill slits
Anal fin broadly rounded
Upper lobe of caudal fin long (~ ½ length of body
Lower lobe of caudal fin not developed
Vertebrae 122-125
Body length 107-380 cm, max 3.8 m
Pale grey, brown, to pink due to blood vessels visible through the skin
– Outer continental and upper slopes and seamounts
– Depth 100 to 1300 meters
– Scattered in Eastern & Western Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, Western Pacific, (Japan,
Australia, New Zealand), Eastern Pacific, (Southern California).
Feeding Behavior:
– Protrusion of jaws accompanied by depression of tongue = rapid buccal cavity
expansion allows for swallowing of relatively large prey and occlusion of upper and
lower teeth prevents small prey from escaping.
– Probably hangs motionless in the water column detecting approaching prey with the
ampullae of Lorenzini along its snout.
– Prey items: Crabs, squid, mesopelagic teleosts, octopus, ~ ostracod
– Thought to be ovoviviparous
Population Status:
– IUCN Red List: Least concern
Carrier, J.C., Musick, J.A., Heithaus, M.R., 2004. Biology of Sharks and Their Relatives.
CRC Press, pp. 46, 48, 67.
Duffy, C. A. J. , 1997. Further records of the goblin shark, Mitsukurina owstoni
(Lamniformes: Mitsukurinidae), from New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Zoology, Vol.
24: 167-171
Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2007. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication., version (08/2007), accessed 10/1/07.
Hamlett, W. C., 1999. Sharks, Skates, and Rays the Biology of Elasmobranch Fishes. The
John Hopkins University Press. pp. 19, 20.
IUCN 2007. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. <>. Downloaded on
01 October 2007.
Nelson, J.S., 2006. Fishes of the World 4th edition. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., pp. 57, 58.
Pope, P.E., 1973. Dictionary of Sharks. Great Outdoors Publishing Co. pp. 42.
Rorem, S. 2002. "Sea Creatures 101: Shark Series: The Goblin Shark: Ugly and Rare" (Online ). Accessed 03-16-03 at
Amber McCammon 5/7/2017