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the web of life in southern Africa

Euprotomicroides zantedeschia (Taillight shark )

Hulley & Penrith, 1966

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Chondrichthyes > Elasmobranchii > Squalomorphii > Squaliformes > Dalatiidae

Euprotomicroides zantedeschia (Taillight shark ) [Illustration by Ann Hecht ]

Identification

A small, compressed, blunt-nosed oceanic shark with no fin spines, ear-shaped pectoral fins, gill slits increasing greatly in width from front to back, and the cloaca formed into a large luminous gland found in no other shark. Colour dark brown, fin margins conspicuously white.

Size

To 42 cm TL.

Range

West coast off Cape Town; also southwest Atlantic off Uruguay.

 

Habitat

Probably oceanic but also occuring near the upper slope; one was caught in a bottom trawl off Cape Town between 457 and 640 m and another was taken near the surface less than 25 m deep in the open ocean.

Biology

Known from only 2 specimens. The unique cloacal gland secretes a blue luminous fluid, of unknown significance.

Human Impact

None.

Text by Leonard J.V. Compagno, David A. Ebert and Malcolm J. Smale