Dalatias licha

Common Name

Kitefin Shark

Year Described

Bonnaterre , 1788


Teeth: 16-21 upper, 17-20 lower. Upper teeth small and slender. Lower teeth much larger and triangular.

Body elongate but stout and robust. Head small. Snout short (about equal to jaw width). Mouth small with upper labial furrows, long post-oral grooves, and thick fringed lips. Eyes large. Five gill slits short. Two dorsal fins well spaced and lacking spines. First dorsal fin about at midbody. Second dorsal fin only a little longer than first. Pectoral fin large and angular. Pelvic fin well posterior (rear under D2 origin) and larger than second dorsal fin. Anal fin absent. Caudal fin with a well developed subterminal notch and a weak lower lobe. Skin rough with close set diamond shaped denticles.


Body dark brown to black with no markings. Edges of fins with thin white margins. Nostril edges and lips white. Eye brilliant green.


Maximum size to 182cm TL. Mature adults from 100-120cm TL.


Midwater and benthopelagic from 37-1800m.


Reported from George's Bank, Bermuda, the northern Gulf of Mexico, and Grand Cayman Is. Likely more widespread in the entire NW Atlantic.


Castro, J.I. 2011. The Sharks of North America. Oxford University Press, 640 pp.

Ebert, D. A., & M. Dando. 2020. Field Guide to Sharks, Rays & Chimaeras of Europe and the Mediterranean. Princeton University Press. 2020.