Etmopterus hillianus

Common Name

Caribbean Lanternshark

Year Described

Poey, 1861


This lanternshark is slender with a fairly long snout (distance from snout to spiracle slightly longer than distance from spiracle to pectoral base). Anterior nasal flap is short. There are two dorsal fins, the second being slightly larger than the first. Distance between them is similar to the snout-gill distance or slightly less. Both have a spine on the anterior margin. First dorsal originates posterior to the rear margin of the pectoral fin and closer to it than the pelvic origin. Pectoral fin is squared off and small. Anal fin is absent. Pelvic fins originate well anterior to the second dorsal. Distance from pelvic to caudal base equal to distance between pelvic origin and pectoral base. Caudal fin is fairly long (about distance from snout to second gill slit). Rear margins of fins lack broad fringes. Teeth in lower jaw are broader than the upper jaw. Upper jaw teeth are narrow with a broad, erect central cusp and 1-3 pairs of lateral cusplets. The lower jaw teeth are block-like, with very low and flattened cusps with a lateral notch. Upper jaw: 24 teeth; lower jaw: 36 teeth. Denticles bristle-like with embedded four-pointed bases, that are randomly distributed. Denticles present on snout. Photophores are scattered over body.


Dark brown with a metallic purplish sheen on the side and on the anterior caudal margin. A pale spot on top of the head (pineal spot). A black area present ventrally on the lower head, the belly, and a few elongated blotches behind the pelvic fin. Caudal fin black except for anterior margin. A series of black spots and dashes on body that are probably photophores in life.


Average size from 25-29cm TL (females larger). Maximum size to 32cm TL.


Deep waters from 380-716m. Poorly known otherwise.


Eastern USA from Virginia to Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea


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

Compagno, L., M. Dando, and S. Fowler. 2005. Sharks of the World. Princeton University Press, 480 pp.