Etmopterus lucifer

Common Name

Blackbelly Lanternshark

Year Described

Jordan and Snyder, 1902


This lanternshark is fairly stout with a fairly long and bluntly rounded snout (longer than mouth width but slightly shorter than the distance from mouth to pectoral origin). Body tapering into slender caudal peduncle. Anterior nasal flap is short. There are two dorsal fins, the second being more than twice as large as the first. Distance between them is less than the snout-gill distance. Both have a spine on the anterior margin. First dorsal at or slightly posterior to rear margin of pectoral fin (closer to pectoral than pelvic fin). Pectoral fin is moderate and angular. Anal fin is absent. Pelvic fins originate anterior to the second dorsal with rear edge under second dorsal fin origin. Caudal fin is fairly long. Teeth in lower jaw are broader than the upper jaw. Upper jaw teeth are narrow with median cusps and 2 pairs of lateral cusplets. The lower jaw teeth are bandlike, with low, oblique cusps and lateral blades. Upper jaw: 21-26 teeth; lower jaw: 29-39 teeth. Very short gill slits. Denticles in longitudinal lines with pointed, hooked tips.


Body dark brown with a black belly. A thin line of black tissue extends forwards and backwards behind pelvic fin. A smaller thin line of black tissue on lower caudal peduncle. Fins body colored with darker fringes. Eyes green.


Maximum size to 47cm TL. Adults mature at 29-42cm TL.


Continental shelf and slopes from 158-1357m.


Southwestern Atlantic: southern Brazil to Argentina.


Ebert, D. A., Dando, M., & S. Fowler. 2021. Sharks of the World. Princeton University Press. 607 pp.

Gianeti, M.D. & C.M Vooren. 2008. Identification of the sharks of the genus Etmopterus Rafinesque, 1810 (Elasmobranchii: Etmopteridae) from the upper slope of southern Brazil, with comparison between the species E. bigelowi Shirai & Tachikawa, 1993 and E. pusillus Lowe, 1839. Brazilian Journal of Oceanography, 56, 139-143.

Other Notes

The taxonomic identity of Etmopterus cf. lucifer in the SW Atlantic remains unclear. The SE Atlantic member of this species complex is E. sculptus and it’s likely the SW Atlantic sharks of this clade are either this species or another undescribed species in the lucifer clade.