Etmopterus lucifer

Jordan & Snyder, 1902

Blackbelly lanternshark
Classification: Elasmobranchii Squaliformes Etmopteridae

Reference of the original description
Jordan, D.S. & Snyder, J.O. (1902)
Descriptions of two new species of squaloid sharks from Japan. Proceedings of the United States National Museum, 25(1279), 79–81

Image of the original description

Etmopterus lucifer Jordan & Snyder, 1902

Synonyms / new combinations and misspellings
Etmopterus abernethyi, Etmopterus cf. lucifer, Spinax lucifer

Etmopterus lucifer
Syntype: SU: 7832 SU: 6863 USNM: 50728;
Etmopterus abernethyi
Holotype: NMNZ: P01951; Paratype: MCZ: 39714; NMNZ: P10650;

Description :

Citation: Etmopterus lucifer Jordan & Snyder, 1902: In: Database of modern sharks, rays and chimaeras,, World Wide Web electronic publication, Version 07/2024

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Etmopterus lucifer Jordan & Snyder, 1902 (MNHN 2712, BPS-0454) © Samuel P. Iglésias, Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Département Milieux et Peuplements Aquatiques Chondrichthyans from the North-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean
Common names
spa Tollo lucero diablo, fra \(T\) Sagre lucifer, eng Blackbelly lantern shark, eng Blackbelly lanternshark, eng Lucifer dogfish, eng Lucifer shark, eng Luminous shark, por Lixinha-de-fundura lucifera

Short Description
Dark grey (Ref. 6577) or brown dorsally, black ventrally, with a distinct black streak above and behind pelvic fins; fins lighter; belly luminous [578]. Small and slender with a moderately elongate caudal peduncle and with flank denticles mostly arranged in regular rows. The base of the pelvic flank marking is under the second dorsal-fin spine, the anterior branch is usually longer than the posterior branch, and the caudal marking is considerably longer than the precaudal marking [1388].

Southwest Atlantic: Uruguay and Argentina. Also southern Brazil [19579]. Western Indian Ocean: Tanzania to South Africa. Western Pacific: Japan to New Zealand. Southeast Pacific: Amber Seamount. A small specimen from off the Kerguelen Islands needs to be verified. Some records probably based on Etmopterus molleri and Etmopterus brachyurus [544]. Source:

Human uses
fisheries: of no interest

Presumably ovoviviparous [1388]. Size at birth about 15 cm [1388]. Distinct pairing with embrace [17086]. Found on the outer continental and insular shelves and upper slopes [518] (Ref. 75154). Benthopelagic at 183-823 m [17640]. Its luminescent belly may attract prey [578], which consists mainly of squid (reported to bite squid bigger than itself), small bony fishes, and shrimps [518]. Often caught in large schools which may suggest that the luminescence may also be used to keep the group together in the dark deep ocean [578]. Feeds om myctophids and cephalopods (Ref. 58748).

Size / Weight / Age
47.0 cm TL (male/unsexed; [1388])

benthopelagic; marine; depth range 150 - 1250 m [578]

Descripion: Teeth small, compressed, and each of those in the upper jaw with two sharp basal cups [3005]; Teeth of Etmopterus abernethyi (synonym of E. lucifer): Teeth 11-1-11/18-17 in the male of 338 mm, 10-1-11/16-15 in the female of 278 mm, dissimilar in the two jaws. The upper teeth erect, multi-cusped, each with a long, sharply-pointed, awl-shaped, smooth-edged major cusp flanked on each side by one or two lesser cusps, and borne on a longitudinally-striated base. Most of the upper teeth have two lesser cusps on each side of the major cusp, with the outer cusp of these two very much smaller than the inner which is one-third to one-half of the length of the major cusp. The teeth towards the angle of the jaw have only one or no lesser cusps on each side. Three series of upper teeth functional at the centre of the jaw, two towards the angles. The lower teeth blade-like, each with a smooth-faced, subreetangular, laterally-rounded base, bearing a single, smooth-edged triangular cusp. Each cusp is sharply notched laterally, very strongly oblique, and overlaps the adjacent cusp so that an almost continuous cutting edge is formed. There is no median tooth, and the base of the first tooth on the left side overlaps that of the first tooth on the right. A single series of lower teeth functional [2751];

Parasites (arranged by Jürgen Pollerspöck)
  • Neoalbionella etmopteri (Yamaguti, 1939) [16562]