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Kitefin Shark

Dalatias licha


The kitefin shark is a relatively common, solitary deep-water shark, capable of reaching depths of 1,800m!

The kitefin shark is a relatively small shark, commonly reaching 1.2 meters in length, though some individuals have measured 1.8 m. They reproduce by aplacental viviparity, where eggs are kept inside the females and embryos develop until live pups are born. Reproduction occurs throughout the year.

Although it is a common species, it is not believed to be an abundant one. Historically the kitefin shark has been exploited in the Mediterranean and Ligurian sea and, although targeted deep fisheries no longer operate in these waters, technology allowing other fisheries to operate in deeper water constitute a threat to the species. However, all deep-water sharks are subject to management within the European Union.

According to the IUCN Red List of threatened species, actions needed to improve the status of the species include the development and implementation of national management plan.

  • Order: Squaliformes
  • Family: Dalatiidae
  • Population: Unknown
  • Trend: decreasing
  • Size: 180cm (?)
  • Depth Range (m): Up to 1,800m

EDGE Score

EDGE Score: 5.61 (?)
ED Score: 67.50 (?)
GE / IUCN Red List (?)
Not Evaluated Data Deficient Least Concern Near Threatened Vulnerable Endangered Critically Endangered Extinct in the Wild Extinct


This species occurs in the continental shelf and slopes of some parts of the Western and Eastern Atlantic, the Western Indian Ocean, the Western and Central Pacific and the Western Mediterranean.

Habitat and Ecology

The kitefin shark is a benthopelagic predator, feeding mostly on fishes but also, skates and other small sharks such as catsharks and dogfish. Although its depth range goes from 37m up to 1,800m, it is usually found between 200m and 600m.

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