SharkoFiles: Dwarf Lantern Shark

The dwarf lantern shark is among the smallest species of fish in the world. The name of the shark comes from the fact that they are a small (dwarf) shark and are bioluminescent (lantern) in the dark environment of the deep sea level (Benthic zone) where they dwell. The Dwarf lantern shark was recently discovered in 1964.

They rarely swim out of their ecological niche under the sea between depths of 660 and 8000 feet, which makes the species difficult to catch and observe. It is unknown if they are an endangered species.  According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the dwarf lantern shark has been labeled as data deficient, meaning there is not enough research on this species of fish to adequately assess their status.

The lifespan of the dwarf lantern shark is estimated between 20-30 years. Dwarf lantern sharks are often targeted by parasites which shorten the lifespan of these creatures. The dwarf lantern shark belongs to the dog shark family ‘etmopteridae,’ and is the smallest species in this family. The scientific name of this fish species is Etmopterus perryi derived from a notable shark expert Perry Gilbert.

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