• Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Vertebrata
  • Superclass: Gnathostomata
  • Class: Elasmobranchii
  • Infraclass: Selachii
  • Order: Squaliformes
  • Family: Dalatiidae
  • Scientific name: Etmopterus spinax
  • Norwegian: svarthå


This is the smallest shark in Norwegian waters, not exceeding a body length of 60 cm. The dorsal side is dark grey or black with a violet tint. On the light grey belly there are a set of light-producing organs (photophores) helping the shark to see in deep waters, where no daylight reach. The nose is long and rounded. As most dogfish sharks (order Squaliformes) it has two dorsal fins, each with a distinct spine on the leading edge. All dogfish sharks lack an anal fin.


It is most frequent on a depth range from 200 to 900 meters, but is not an unusual encounter if you dive below 25-30 meters, on dark winter evenings. It seems to prefer locations with gravel, sand or muddy substrate.


The velvet-belly lantern shark is registered in the North Sea, including Norway, Iceland and the British Isles, but there are no reports from the Baltic Sea. In the rest of the East Atlantic Ocean there are registrations as far south as South-Africa.