Etmopterus princeps

Common Name

Great Lanternshark

Year Described

Collett, 1904


This lanternshark is fairly stout with a fairly long snout (distance from snout to spiracle slightly longer than distance from spiracle to pectoral base). Anterior nasal flap is very short. There are two dorsal fins, the second being much larger than the first. Distance between them is greater than the snout-gill distance. Both have a spine on the anterior margin. First dorsal originates posterior to the rear margin of the pectoral fin and is closer to it than the pelvic origin. Pectoral fin is squared off and small. Anal fin is absent. Pelvic fins originate anterior to the second dorsal but rear of fin is right under second dorsal origin. Distance from pelvic to caudal base much less than distance between pelvic origin and pectoral base. Caudal fin is long (about distance from snout to pectoral base). Rear margins of fins lack broad fringes. Teeth in lower jaw are different from the upper jaw. Upper jaw teeth are narrow with a broad, erect central cusp and 2 pairs of lateral cusplets (1 pair in juveniles). The lower jaw teeth are block-like, with very low and flattened cusps with a lateral notch. Upper jaw: 29-32 teeth; lower jaw: 40-50 teeth. Denticles robust and erect, with a central ridge and square bases, that are arranged in rows. Underside of snout without denticles. Photophores absent.


Dark brown to black, with a darker belly. The edges of the fins are pale. There do not appear to be any photophores and the pineal spot is absent.


Females from 40-62cm TL, males from 51-57cm TL. Maximum size from 70-80cm TL.


Found in deep waters from 436-1,700m over it's N. Atlantic range but between 566-950m in the NW Atlantic (Castro, 2011). Feeds on small fishes, squid, and crustaceans.


A cool water species, found in the northwestern Atlantic from off Nova Scotia to southern New England


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.