Mitsukurina owstoni

Jordan, 1898

Goblin shark
Classification: Elasmobranchii Lamniformes Mitsukurinidae

Reference of the original description
Jordan, D.S. (1898)
Description of a species of fish (Mitsukurina owstoni) from Japan, the type of a distinct family of Lamnoid sharks. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, (Series 3), 1, 199–202

Image of the original description

Mitsukurina owstoni Jordan, 1898, image of the firs description

Images of the original description (synonym)
Synonyms / new combinations and misspellings
Mitsukurina aff. owstoni, Mitsukurina cf. owstoni, Mitsukurina jordani, Mitsukurina nasuta, Odontaspis nasutus, Scapanorhynchus dofleini, Scapanorhynchus jordani, Scapanorhynchus mitsukurii, Scapanorhynchus owstoni

Mitsukurina owstoni
Holotype: ZUMT: 1455;
Odontaspis nasutus
XXXX: No types known;
Scapanorhynchus dofleini
Holotype: ZSM: (old collection) lost in WW II;
Scapanorhynchus jordani
Syntype: AMNH: 00004SW (jaws, model on display at AMNH), 48867
Scapanorhynchus mitsukurii
XXXX: No types known;

Description :

Citation: Mitsukurina owstoni Jordan, 1898: In: Database of modern sharks, rays and chimaeras,, World Wide Web electronic publication, Version 06/2024

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Mitsukurina owstoni Jordan, 1898, Japan, eastern side of Miho Peninsula (35°00’N,138°29'E) near Shimizu city on Feb. 20, 2007, female, TL:1198mm, Precaudal Length:797mm, Body weight:4450g, TMFE 20778, Tokai Universitiy, Japan © Dr. Nicolas Straube, Curator of Ichthyology & Associate Professor, Department of Natural History, University Museum of Bergen
Common names
deu \(T\) Japanischer Nasenhai, deu \(T\) Koboldhai, deu \(T\) Nasenhai, deu \(T\) Teppichhai, spa Tiburón duende, fra \(T\) Requin lutin, eng Elfin shark, eng Elphin shark, eng Goblin shark, ita Squalo folletto, ita Squalo goblin, por Tubarão-demónio, por Tubarão-gnomo

Short Description
Flat, bladelike, elongated snout, tiny eyes without nictitating eyelids, soft, flabby body, slender, very long cusped teeth in long, protrusible jaws, long caudal fin without a ventral lobe [518]. Pinkish-white with bluish fins, becoming brownish grey after death (Ref. 5578, 11228).

Western Atlantic: Guyana [1388], Suriname [2445] [20053] and French Guiana, Gulf of Mexico [16980] [21574], off Rio de Janeiro [15720], northern Brazil 01°23’N and 05°09’N.[15505]. Eastern Atlantic: France (Bay of Biscay), Madeira, Portugal, and South Africa, Vavilov Ridge, 7°59´ S, 0°55´ E [7223]. Western Indian Ocean: off South Africa. Western Pacific: Japan, Australia (South Australia, New South Wales), New Zealand [578], eastern Australia [2292]. Eastern Pacific: USA (southern California) [531]. Waters of Morocco (Northwest Africa)[25280], Source:

Human uses
Interest to fisheries none, it is usually taken as bycatch of deepwater trawl and longline fisheries [17836]

Exhibit ovoviparity (aplacental viviparity), with embryos feeding on other ova produced by the mother (oophagy) after the yolk sac is absorbed [733]. Distinct pairing with embrace [17086]. Found on outer continental shelves and upper slopes, but rarely in shallow water close inshore . Jaws are highly specialized for rapid projection from the head to snap up small animals. Goblin sharks feed mostly on bony fishes (Macrouridae, Stomiidae), cephalopods, and crustaceans, including midwater teleosts and crustaceans. Based on the prey items often consumed by these sharks it appears that they may forage off the bottom for food and may in fact occupy more of a midwater habitat than is generally assumed [17836];

Size / Weight / Age
Maximum total length at least 550 to 620 cm. Males possibly adult at 260 to 380 cm, female size at maturity uncertain, but likely at over 400 cm. Size at birth uncertain, but the smallest freeswimming individuals were an 81.7 cm male and a 92.8 cm female. [17836]

bathydemersal; marine; depth range 30 - 1300 m [531], usually 270 - 960 m [531]

Tooth counts 35 to 53 upper jaw, 31 to 62 lower jaw [17836]

shark-references Species-ID=3737;

Parasites (arranged by Jürgen Pollerspöck)
  • Litobothrium amsichensis Caira & Runkle, 1993 [14628]
  • Scyphophyllidium gobelinus (Caira & Runkle, 1993) [14628] [16929]

  • Echthrogaleus mitsukurinae Izawa, 2012 [15359]