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Somniosus microcephalus  (Bloch & Schneider, 1801)

Greenland shark
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Somniosus microcephalus
Picture by Salesjö, A.

Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Elasmobranchii (sharks and rays) > Squaliformes (Bramble, sleeper and dogfish sharks) > Somniosidae (Sleeper sharks)
Etymology: Somniosus: Latin, somnus = sleep (Ref. 45335).

Environment / Climate / Range Ecology

Marine; brackish; benthopelagic; depth range 0 - 2200 m (Ref. 247), usually 200 - 600 m (Ref. 35388).   Deep-water; 1°C - 12°C (Ref. 247); 83°N - 35°N, 95°W - 61°E

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm ?, range 244 - 427 cm
Max length : 730 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 247); max. published weight: 775.0 kg (Ref. 4699)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 0; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 0; Vertebrae: 41 - 44. A gigantic, heavily-bodied dogfish shark with a moderately long, rounded snout and small, low dorsal fins; lower caudal lobe long; upper jaw with small single-cusped teeth and lower jaw with moderate-sized, bent-cusped, slicing teeth (Ref. 5578). Medium grey or brown in color, sometimes with transverse dark bands or small light spots (Ref. 5578).

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

Arctic and North Atlantic.

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Found on continental and insular shelves and upper slopes down to at least 1,200 m (Ref. 247) and to as deep as 2,200 m (Ref. 55584). Epibenthic-pelagic (Ref. 58426). In the Arctic and boreal Atlantic, it occurs inshore in the intertidal and at the surface in shallow bays and river mouths during colder months, retreating to depths of 180-550 m when the temperature rises (Ref. 247). Feeds on pelagic and bottom fishes (herring, Atlantic salmon, Arctic char, capelin, redfish, sculpins, lumpfish, cod, haddock, Atlantic halibut, Greenland halibut and skates (Ref. 5951)), sharks and skates (Ref. 5578), seals and small cetaceans, sea birds, squids, crabs, amphipods, marine snails, brittle stars, sea urchins, and jellyfish (Ref. 247, 58240). Petromyzon marinus was reported to have been attached to S. microcephalus (Ref. 58185). Ovoviviparous (Ref. 205). Also utilized fresh and dried for human and sled-dog food (flesh is said to be toxic when fresh); eskimos also used the skin to make boots, and the sharp lower dental bands as knives for cutting hair (Ref. 247). A very sluggish shark (Ref. 28609).

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

Ovoviviparous (Ref. 247). Distinct pairing with embrace (Ref. 205).

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator | Collaborators

Yano, K., J.D. Stevens and L.J.V. Compagno, 2004. A review of the systematics of the sleeper shark genus Somniosus with redescriptions of Somniosus (Somniosus) antarcticus and Somniosus (Rhinoscymnus) longus (Squaliformes: Somniosidae). Ichthyol. Res. 51:360-373. (Ref. 50224)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 96402)

CITES (Ref. 94142)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans

  Poisonous to eat (Ref. 4690)




Human uses

Fisheries: minor commercial; gamefish: yes
FAO(fisheries: production, species profile; publication : search) | FIRMS (Stock assessments) | FisheriesWiki | Sea Around Us

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Estimates of some properties based on models

Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 0.5313   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00525 (0.00300 - 0.00918), b=3.18 (3.03 - 3.33), based on LWR estimates for species & (Sub)Family-body shape (Ref. 93245).
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  4.2   ±0.6 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278):  Very Low, minimum population doubling time more than 14 years (Fec=10; assuming tm>10).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  Very high vulnerability (90 of 100) .
low
Price category (Ref. 80766):   Low.