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Somniosus microcephalus (Bloch & Schneider, 1801)

Greenland shark
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Classification / Names Nomi Comuni | Sinonimi | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Elasmobranchi (squali e razze) (sharks and rays) > Squaliformes (Bramble, sleeper and dogfish sharks) > Somniosidae (Sleeper sharks)
Etymology: Somniosus: Latin, somnus = sleep (Ref. 45335).  More on authors: Bloch & Schneider.

Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range Ecologia

; marino; salmastro benthopelagico; oceanodromo (Ref. 119696); distribuzione batimetrica 0 - 2992 m (Ref. 119696), usually 200 - 600 m (Ref. 35388).   Boreal; -2°C - 17°C (Ref. 119696); 83°N - 35°N, 95°W - 61°E

Distribuzione Stati | Aree FAO | Ecosystems | Presenze | Point map | Introduzioni | Faunafri

Arctic and North Atlantic: Canadian Arctic at Resolute Bay to Baffin Bay, southward in western Atlantic to Cape Cod, eastward to Greenland, Iceland, Arctic Ocean off Svalbard and Franz Josef Land, and the Barents and White Seas southward in the eastern Atlantic to the Kattegat and west of Ireland; rare records known farther south as well as in the Arctic..

Length at first maturity / Size / Peso / Age

Maturity: Lm ?, range 244 - 427 cm
Max length : 427 cm TL maschio/sesso non determinato; (Ref. 247); 550.0 cm TL (female); peso massimo pubblicato: 775.0 kg (Ref. 4699); Età massima riportata: 392 anni (Ref. 110949)

Short description Morfologia | Morfometria

Spine dorsali (totale): 0; Raggi dorsali molli (totale): 0; Spine anali 0; Raggi anali molli: 0; Vertebre: 41 - 44. 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 (Ref. 5578). Medium grey or brown in color, sometimes with transverse dark bands or small light spots (Ref. 5578).

Biologia     Glossario (es. epibenthic)

Found on continental and insular shelves and upper slopes down to at least 1,200 m (Ref. 247) and to as deep as 2,200 m (Ref. 55584). Epibenthic-pelagic (Ref. 58426). In the Arctic and boreal Atlantic, it occurs inshore in the intertidal and at the surface in shallow bays and river mouths during colder months, retreating to depths of 180-550 m when the temperature rises (Ref. 247). Reported to be found in temperatures from -1.8° to 17.2°C but commonly below 5°C at with salinity range of 29.4-35.5. It is capable of undertaking long migrations (Ref. 119696). Feeds on pelagic and bottom fishes (herring, Atlantic salmon, Arctic char, capelin, redfish, sculpins, lumpfish, cod, haddock, Atlantic halibut, Greenland halibut and skates (Ref. 5951)), sharks and skates (Ref. 5578), seals and small cetaceans, sea birds, squids, crabs, amphipods, marine snails, brittle stars, sea urchins, and jellyfish (Ref. 247, 58240). Radiocarbon dating of eye lens nuclei from 28 caught female Greenland sharks (81-502 cm TL) revealed a life span of at least 272 years, the oldest being nearly 400 years; age of sexual maturity is about 150 years. This large species is slow-growing (Ref. 110949). Petromyzon marinus was reported to have been attached to S. microcephalus (Ref. 58185). Ovoviviparous (Ref. 205). Utilized fresh and dried for human and sled-dog food (flesh is said to be toxic when fresh); Eskimos also used the skin to make boots, and the sharp lower dental bands as knives for cutting hair (Ref. 247). A very sluggish shark (Ref. 28609). Reports in literature of lengths exceeding 640 cm TL (e.g. up to 730 cm TL in Ref. 247) remain unverified. Common length 244-427 cm TL (Ref. 119696).

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturità | Riproduzione | Deposizione | Uova | Fecundity | Larve

Ovoviviparous (Ref. 247). Distinct pairing with embrace (Ref. 205).

Main reference Upload your references | Bibliografia | Coordinatore | Collaboratori

Yano, K., J.D. Stevens and L.J.V. Compagno, 2004. A review of the systematics of the sleeper shark genus Somniosus with redescriptions of Somniosus (Somniosus) antarcticus and Somniosus (Rhinoscymnus) longus (Squaliformes: Somniosidae). Ichthyol. Res. 51:360-373. (Ref. 50224)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 120744)

  Near Threatened (NT) ; Date assessed: 31 January 2006

CITES (Ref. 115941)

Not Evaluated

CMS (Ref. 116361)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans

  Poisonous to eat (Ref. 4690)





Human uses

Pesca: scarso interesse commerciale; Pesce da pesca sportiva: si

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Estimates of some properties based on models

Preferred temperature (Ref. 115969): 0.6 - 9.3, mean 3.6 (based on 1058 cells).
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 0.5313   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00525 (0.00301 - 0.00914), b=3.17 (3.02 - 3.32), in cm Total Length, based on LWR estimates for this species & (Sub)family-body (Ref. 93245).
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  4.2   ±0.6 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilienza (Ref. 69278):  Molto basso, tempo minimo di raddoppiamento della popolazione più di 14 anni (Fec=10; K=0.0075; assuming tm>10).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  Very high vulnerability (90 of 100) .
Price category (Ref. 80766):   Low.