Elasmobranchii (sharks and rays) > Squaliformes
(Sleeper and dogfish sharks) > Dalatiidae
Etymology: Mollisquama: mollis (L.), soft; squama (L.), scale, referring to its soft scales, apparently unique among sharks. (See ETYFish); mississippiensis: -ensis, Latin suffix denoting place: the “vast” North American Mississippi River Basin, a “biologically and geographically rich region that nurtures Gulf of Mexico [type locality] fauna and unites diverse cultures”. (See ETYFish).
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Marine; pelagic. Deep-water
Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri
Western Central Atlantic: Gulf of Mexico.
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 14.2 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 121924)
Morphology | Morphometrics
This species is distinguished from its congeners by the following characters: a putative pit organ centrally placed just posterior to the lower jaw margin; photophores are irregularly distributed along many areas of the body; with a series of 16 ventral-abdominal photophore aggregations; upper teeth no labial-surface ridge (vs. present in M. parini); lower teeth with a weak or absent basal sulcus (vs. deep sulcus in M. parini) (Ref. 121924).
This species was collected with a midwater trawl during a cetacean research project to assess predator/prey trophodynamics for sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) of the Gulf of Mexico. Trawl fishing depths were from 5 m of surface to a maximum trawl fishing depth of 580 m over 3,038 m bottom depth; with the sea bottom relatively flat abyssal plain without significant bathymetric features. Environmental sampling conducted within 10 nautical miles of the trawl location with surface/maximum trawling depth environmental data; temperature 21.5°C/7.2°C, oxygen saturation 6.6 mg/l/ 4.0 mg/l, and salinity 36.5 psu/34.9 psu. Other fauna were captured including 44 species identified to lowest taxon (3.3 kg total catch weight, 731 specimens); 29 finfish taxa, 15 invertebrate taxa. Collection locations of M. mississippiensis captured above an abyssal plain 3,038 m depth is influenced by the relatively warm Gulf Stream while M. parini captured above an extensive seamount ridge 330 m depth is influenced by the relatively cold sub-Antarctic Humboldt Current (Ref. 121924).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Grace, M.A., M.H. Doosey, J.S. Denton, G.J.P. Naylor, H.L. Bart Jr. and J.G. Maisey, 2019. A new Western North Atlantic Ocean kitefin shark (Squaliformes: Dalatiidae) from the Gulf of Mexico. Zootaxa 4619(1):109-120. (Ref. 121924)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 125652)
Threat to humans
CountriesFAO areasEcosystemsOccurrencesIntroductionsStocksEcologyDietFood itemsFood consumptionRation
Common namesSynonymsMetabolismPredatorsEcotoxicologyReproductionMaturitySpawningSpawning aggregationFecundityEggsEgg development
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingNutrientsMass conversion
Estimates based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82804
= No PD50 data [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00309 (0.00143 - 0.00669), b=3.15 (2.95 - 3.35), in cm total length, based on LWR estimates for this (Sub)family-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic level (Ref. 69278
): 3.8 ±0.3 se; based on size and trophs of closest relatives
Resilience (Ref. 120179
): High, minimum population doubling time less than 15 months (Preliminary K or Fecundity.).
Fishing Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Low vulnerability (10 of 100).