Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Goblin Shark

Goblin shark with jaw protruding.
Goblin shark with jaw in normal position.

Common name:
 Goblin  Shark.
Scientific name:
 Mitsukurina owstoni

The goblin shark is a very rare, deep water specimen. It is not a threat to humans, since it lives at depths that humans can only visit via submarine.

This unmistakable shark's most recognizable feature is its long, paddle-like snout. The snout's use is unknown, but some scientists believe it allows the shark to have more ampullae of Lorenzini, therefore making its sense of electroreception stronger. Goblin shark juveniles are white to pinkish light gray dorsally and white below.  Adults are pink to light tan, and preserved specimens are gray. The jaw is able to protrude very far. Their skin is soft and flabby. Goblin sharks have 5 gills on each side, two dorsal fins, no fin spines, no nictitating membranes, and their mouths are behind their eyes.

Kingdom : Animalia
Phylum : Chordata
Subphylum : Vertebrata
Class : Chondrichthyes
Subclass :  Elasmobranchii
Order : Lamniformes
Family : Mitsukurinidae
Genus :  Mitsukurina
Species : owstoni

Similar Species and Other Family Members:
The goblin shark is the only member of the Misukurinina, and their are no other species similar to it.

Very little is known about this subject when it comes to goblin sharks. They are believed to be ovoviviparous (the eggs are nourished by a yolk, but the mother keeps them in her body till they run out of food from the yolk and then they are born live).

Goblin sharks are thought to grow from 6 to 15 feet (180 to 450 cm) long. They may reach over 400 pounds (180 kilograms) in weight.

Very little is known on this subject, but we do know they will eat bony fish, squid, and crustaceans. We do not yet know of anything else they will eat.

Teeth & Jaws:
Here is a good illustration of a goblin shark tooth.

When a goblin shark bites prey, it's jaw protrudes out. This gif shows this action excellently.

Habitat and Distribution:
The goblin shark is a deep water species, found at depths of up to 3,940 feet (1,200 meters). It is found in the western Pacific Ocean, the western Indian Ocean, and the western and eastern Atlantic Ocean.

Life Span:
No one knows the life span of the goblin shark.

Conservation Status:
Data deficient.

note: I do not own any of these pictures. 


  1. Wow those guys are neat! too bad their rare!

  2. What would be cool is if I could find the life span of a goblin shark!!!

  3. Yeah. I need it by May 12.


  5. What an excellent blog from a young lady. My 6 year old grandson was mezmirized by this shark. He is very well interested in all things ocean and its creatures. I can see him blogging in a couple of years, too! Keep up the great work! As much as I know about the ocean fauna, I never heard of this shark. Way to go!!

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