The kitefin shark or seal shark (Dalatias licha) is a dogfish shark in the Dalatiidae family… but what makes this shark cool is that it’s the only species in its genus!
Found around the world, they tend to stick close to the sea floor and cruise slowly while its large eyes scan for prey (it has large, thick lips so I like to think it’s licking them while thinking about food even though it can’t actually do that). Observed at depths of 200–600 m (660–1,970 ft), they have a slender body with short, blunt snout and get to be about 1.0–1.4 m (3.3–4.6 ft) in length.
Those thick lips hide large teeth and a bite to match, taking on a range of prey; from teleosts, to other Chondrichthyans, they also dine on cephalopods, crustaceans, polychaete worms, siphonophores, and more.
Armed with large teeth and a strong bite, the kitefin shark is a powerful, solitary predator that takes many different types of prey, ranging from It also takes bites out of animals larger than itself, similar to its smaller relative, the cookiecutter shark (Isistius brasiliensis). This shark is aplacental viviparous and gives birth to 10–14 young. The kitefin shark is fished commercially for its meat, skin, and liver oil, primarily by Portugal and Japan. A fishery targeting this species existed off the Azores from the 1970s to the 1990s, but collapsed due to overfishing and falling liver oil prices; the rapid depletion of the Azores stock is often cited as an example of the susceptibility of deep-sea sharks to human exploitation. The low reproductive rate of this species renders it susceptible to overfishing and, coupled with known population declines, has led it to be assessed as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
who wants to see these animals? we do!
you may also like:
TFUI Founder Melissa C. Marquez is author of all animal bios and "Behind the Fins" segments.
SEE MELISSA'S TEDx TALK HERE:
SEARCH BY CATEGORIES