Somniosus microcephalus

(Bloch & Schneider, 1801)

Greenland shark
Classification: Elasmobranchii Squaliformes Somniosidae

Reference of the original description
Bloch, M.E. & Schneider, J.G. (1801)
M.E. Blochii Systema Ichthyologiae iconibus ex illustratum. Post obitum auctoris opus inchoatum absolvit, correxit, interpolavit. J.G. Schneider, Saxo: 584 p., 110 pl.

Image of the original description
No image in first description.

Images of the original description (synonym)
Synonyms / new combinations and misspellings
Acanthorhinus carcharias, Dalatias (Somniosus) borealis, Laemargus borealis, Laemargus brevipinna, Laemargus microcephalus, Leiodon echinatum, Scymnus borealis, Scymnus brevipinna, Scymnus glacialis, Scymnus gunneri, Scymnus microcephalus, Scymnus micropterus, Scymnus (Laemargus) borealis, Scymnus (Laemargus) brevipinna, Somniosus aff. microcephalus, Somniosus borealis, Somniosus brevipinna, Somniosus carcharias, Somniosus cf. microcephalus, Somniosus (Somniosus) microcephalus, Squalus borealis, Squalus microcephalus, Squalus norvegianus

Somniosus microcephalus
XXXX: No types known;
Scymnus glacialis
XXXX: No types known;
Scymnus gunneri
XXXX: No types known;
Scymnus micropterus
Syntype: MNHN: 9857 Seine estuary MNHN: A-9876 Cap Nord
Somniosus brevipinna
XXXX: No types known;
Squalus borealis
XXXX: No types known;
Squalus norvegianus
XXXX: No types known;

Description :

Citation: Somniosus microcephalus (Bloch & Schneider, 1801): In: Database of modern sharks, rays and chimaeras,, World Wide Web electronic publication, Version 07/2024

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Somniosus microcephalus (Bloch & Schneider, 1801), © Andy Murch Elasmodiver
Common names
deu \(T\) Eishai, deu \(T\) Grundhai, deu \(T\) Grönlandhai, spa Tiburón boreal, spa Tollo boreal, spa Tollo de Groenlandia, fra \(T\) Laimargue, fra \(T\) Laimargue atlantique, fra \(T\) Laimargue du Groenland, eng Greenland shark, eng Ground shark, eng Oakettle, ita Squalo di Groenlandia lemargo, por Tubarao da Gronelândia, por Tubarao de Gronelândia, por Tubarão-da-noite

Short Description
A gigantic, heavily-bodied dogfish shark with a moderately long, rounded snout and small, low dorsal fins; lower caudal lobe long; upper jaw with small single-cusped teeth and lower jaw with moderate-sized, bent-cusped, slicing teeth [536]. Medium grey or brown in color, sometimes with transverse dark bands or small light spots [536]. Diet: seals (ringed seal (Pusa hispida); bearded seal (Erignathus barbatus) and hooded seal (Cystophora cristata)), minke whale (Balenoptera acutorostrata), Fish dominated the sharks’ diet, most important fish species: Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua), Atlantic wolffish (Anarhichas lupus) and haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) [16141];

North Atlantic and Arctic: Cape Cod and the Gulf of Maine, Gulf of St. Lawrence to Ellesmere Islands, Greenland, Iceland, Spitzbergen, White Sea, and Norway to the North Sea, sometimes south to the Seine River mouth, France and maybe Portugal. South Atlantic and Southern Ocean: South Africa, Kerguelen and Macquarie islands.
First record: 2015 [23556]: northern boundary of the Laptev Sea (78°04.3 N, 133°24.4 E) Source:

Human uses
fisheries: minor commercial; gamefish: yes; price category: low; price reliability: reliable: based on ex-vessel price for this species

Ovoviviparous [518]. Distinct pairing with embrace [17086].

Size / Weight / Age
(800 cm TL [24366], 700-750 cm TL [24365]) [23556] (male/unsexed); max. published weight: 775.0 kg (Ref. 4699)

benthopelagic; brackish; marine; depth range 0 - 2200 m [518], usually 200 - 600 m [20241]

tooth formula (upper/lower): 20-24/24-29 [1131];

Links: SEM-images of teeth

shark-references Species-ID=6497;

Parasites (arranged by Jürgen Pollerspöck)
  • Erpocotyle borealis (Van Beneden, 1853) [22564] [22589]
  • Erpocotyle somniosi (Causey, 1926) Price, 1942 [17920]

  • Anelasma squalicola Darwin, 1851 [31771]