Etmopterus virens

Common Name

Green Lanternshark

Year Described

Bigelow, Schroeder, and Springer, 1953


This lanternshark is fairly slender with a fairly long snout (distance from snout to orbit longer than the distance from the rear orbit to the first gill slit). Anterior nasal flap is short. Head short (~25% of trunk length). There are two dorsal fins, the second being much larger than the first. Distance between them is about the same as the distance from the snout to pectoral base. Both have a spine on the anterior margin. First dorsal originates well posterior to the rear margin of the pectoral fin and is equidistant from the pectoral and pelvic fin. Pectoral fin is squared off and small. Anal fin is absent. Pelvic fins originate well anterior to the second dorsal fin. Distance from pelvic to caudal base slightly less than distance between pelvic origin and pectoral base. Caudal fin is long (about distance from snout to pectoral base). Rear margins of fins without 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. The lower jaw teeth are block-like, with very low and flattened cusps with a lateral notch. Upper jaw: 29-34 teeth; lower jaw: 24-32 teeth. Denticles close-packed, long, and bristle-like, with embedded four-pointed bases, that are randomly arranged. Snout without denticles. Photophores present.


Dark brown with a metallic purple sheen in fresh specimens. Belly with extensive black areas on the lower head and belly and several elongated black areas that extend onto flanks behind pelvic fin and on caudal peduncle. Fins dark basally with pale webs. Caudal tips dark. Pale spot on top of head (pineal spot). Three pale lines of photophores on flanks appear as light stripes in preserved fish. Living specimens with brilliant green bioluminescence.


Mature adults from 18-22cm TL. Maximum size to 30cm TL.


Deep waters from 329-530m. Seems to form large schools. Feeds mostly on cephalopods.


Western Atlantic: 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.