Etmopterus molleri

(WHITLEY, 1939)

Slendertail lanternshark
Classification: Elasmobranchii Squaliformes Etmopteridae

Reference of the original description
WHITLEY, G.P. (1939)
Studies in Ichthyology. No. 12. Records of the Australian Museum, 20 (4): 264–277

Image of the original description

Etmopterus molleri (WHITLEY, 1939) as Acanthidium molleri Whitley. Holotype female, 360 mm. long, from east of Sydney, New South Wales; 130 fathoms. Austr. Mus. Regd. No. IA.5816. Below (left to right) : dermal denticles, teeth, ventral surface of head.

Synonyms / new combinations and misspellings
Acanthidium molleri, Acanthidium (Acanthidium) molleri, Etmopterus cf. molleri

Etmopterus molleri
Holotype: AMS: IA.5816; Paratype: AMS: IA.5817;

Description :

Citation: Etmopterus molleri (WHITLEY, 1939): In: Database of modern sharks, rays and chimaeras,, World Wide Web electronic publication, Version 03/2017

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Etmopterus molleri (WHITLEY, 1939) © Nicolas Straube, University of Jena & Bavarian State Collection of Zoology
Common names
eng Blackbelly lanternshark, eng Moller"s lantern shark, eng Moller"s lanternshark, eng Mollers deepsea shark, eng Mollers lantern shark, eng Slendertail lantern shark, eng Slendertail lanternshark

Short Description
Light brown above, black below, with a pale stripe on side and a black streak above and behind pelvic fins; belly luminous [578]. Small and slender, with a moderately elongate caudal peduncle and with flank denticles mostly arranged in regular rows. The base of the pelvic flank markings is inserted in advance of the origin of the second dorsal-fin spine, the anterior branch is shorter than the posterior branch, and the caudal marking is longer than the precaudal marking [1388].

Original Diagnosis after Whitley, 1939 [11540]: A deep-sea shark with five gill-slits, no anal fin, each dorsal fin preceded by a prominent spine, and with glandular areas (probably luminous organs) on the lower parts of the body. General facies of the genotype of Acanthidium as figured in Lowe's Fishes of Madeira, Sept., 1843, p. 37, pI. vi, but distinguished by its much longer snout, more oblique nostrils, and various minor characters, as described below. Head acute, somewhat flattened, about :t of the total length and nearly twice the depth of the body. Width of head across gills subequal to preoral length. A cilain of pores on each side of fontanelle. Eye very large. Spiracles large. Nostrils large, oblique. Some crescentic creases across chin. Mouth transverse, not notably arched, and with long oblique lateral folds. Teeth of upper jaw in several series, pentacuspid, each tooth with a long central cusp and two small acute cusps on each side of it. Lower jaw teeth in a Single row, unicuspid, their sides touching and their points deflected laterally. Five small curved gill-openings, the last at the pectoral origin. Body elongate, finely tapering posteriorly. The back is rounded but the ventral surface is somewhat flattened. Lateral line present. The ventral surface of head and body is covered with a blackish area, probably luminescent, which sends longitudinal branches of glandular skin along the sides between the ventral fins and the second dorsal and also on the lower parts of the caudal root. A series of black spots along the median line of the back and two or three more on the sides below the lateral line are discernible against the general dark brown ground-colour of the shark. The skin is densely invested with hook-like dermal denticles arranged in many longitudinal rows. Dorsal fins preceded by prominent spines with shallow lateral grooves. Spine of first dorsal equidistant from nostril and second dorsal. Length of base of first dorsal fin (without the spine) about one-tenth dorsal interspace. Second dorsal fin much larger than first; both the fins thin and fragile. No anal fin. Pectorals small, their lower rays produced into a slight, blunt lobe. Ventral fins low, united around vent; their origins are nearer the pectorals than the caudal. Caudal fin shorter than head, with a notch below its terminal part.
Described and figured from the holotype of the new species, the larger of two females (360 mm. or 1H inches) from the same locality. Austr. Mus. Regd. Nos. IA.5816 (holotype) and 5817 (paratype).
Loc.-About thirty miles eastward of Sydney, New South Wales; trawled in 130 fathoms depth in June, 1933, by Captain K. Moller, in whose honour the species is named. The trawlers very rarely fish in this great depth, and on that occasion three other species of fishes were secured: Undecimus hendecacanthus (McCulloch), Centriscops obZiquus Waite, and Owstonia maccullochi Whitley; these were new records for this State and were recorded in the supplement to the third edition of McCulloch's Fishes of New South Wales in 1934. The sharks, however, were set. aside until now for determination.

Western Indian Ocean: recently reported off southern Mozambique [20053]. Western Pacific: Japan, Australia, and New Zealand [1388]. Only recently recognized as distinct from Etmopterus lucifer [544]. Source:

Human uses
fisheries: of no interest

Ovoviviparous [578]. Size at birth about 15 cm [1388]. Distinct pairing with embrace [17086]. Found on the continental shelf and slope (Ref. 75154).

Size / Weight / Age
46.0 cm TL (male/unsexed; [1388])

bathydemersal; marine; depth range 250 - 860 m [578]

Teeth of upper jaw in several series, pentacuspid, each tooth with a long central cusp and two small acute cusps on each side of it. Lower jaw teeth in a Single row, unicuspid, their sides touching and their points deflected laterally [11540];