Somniosus antarcticus

Whitley, 1939

Southern sleeper shark
Classification: Elasmobranchii Squaliformes Somniosidae

Reference of the original description
Whitley, G.P. (1939)
Taxonomic notes on sharks and rays. Australian Zoologist, 9(3), 227–262

Synonyms / new combinations and misspellings
Somniosus (Somniosus) antarcticus

Somniosus antarcticus

Description :

Citation: Somniosus antarcticus Whitley, 1939: In: Database of modern sharks, rays and chimaeras,, World Wide Web electronic publication, Version 07/2022

Please send your images of "Somniosus antarcticus" to

Somniosus antarcticus Whitley, 1939, © FAO, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Ebert, D.A. 2014. On Board Guide for the Identification of Pelagic Sharks and Rays of the Western Indian Ocean. Reproduced with permission, illustration by Marc Dando , Wildlife Illustrator
Common names
, eng Southern sleeper shark

Short Description
A gigant dogfish with two small, spineless dorsal fins and a asymmetrical caudal fin with a well-developed lower lobe [3365]; Vertebrae: 36 - 38. Somniosus antarcticus differs from S. pacificus by the following characters: interdorsal space about 80% of prebranchial length (vs. 70%); height of first dorsal fin about 3.0% of precaudal length (PCL) (vs. 3.7%); height of second dorsal fin about 2.9% of PCL (vs. 3.4%); number of turns in spiral valve 36-41 (mode 39) (vs. 32-37, mode 33); precaudal vertebrae 30-31 (mode 30) (vs. 28-30, mode 29) (Ref. 50224).

Soutern Ocean from central Chile, Patagonia, Argentinia, Namibia, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and sub-Antarctic islands [3365]; Source:

presumably viviparous (aplacental) but no pregnant females have been reported [3365];

Size / Weight / Age
Attains at least 456 cm, but reputed to attain 600 cm or more, males mature about 400 cm and females about 435 cm. Born at about 40 cm [3365];

Marine; benthopelagic; depth range 485 - 1150 m (Ref. 50224)

shark-references Species-ID=6492;