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September Elasmobranch of the Month: Blackfin Gulper Shark

Author: Linda Weiss

Blackfin Gulper Shark

(Centrophorus isodon)

Key Features/Appearance

The Blackfin gulper shark is a small shark, reaching a maximum length of 110 cm (3.6 ft). They are grayish-brown to dark gray on top and lighter gray underneath. Juveniles have dark fin tips. Its snout is long and pointed. The first dorsal fin is only slightly larger than the second. The caudal fin lobes are slightly rounded with a notch between the two, rather than a distinctive fork. The pectoral fins are also somewhat rounded and originate immediately adjacent to the gill slits. The skin of this shark species is relatively smooth. Its eyes are large, green and reflective.

Habitat and Distribution

The Blackfin gulper shark has a patchy distribution in the Northwest and Western Central Pacific Ocean, and the Eastern Indian Oceans. It is found in Indonesia, the Philippines and China, and Taiwan. With a preference for tropical water, they can be found over the upper continental slopes in depths ranging from 435 – 770 m (1,430-2,526 feet).


Little is known about the Blackfin gulper’s diet. It does eat bony fish and cephalopods such as a cuttlefish, squid, and octopi.

Reproduction Blackfin gulper shark reproduction is ovoviviparous, where eggs develop inside the female until birth. Gestation period is unknown. Litter size is only 1 – 2 pups where each pup measures approximately 30-42 cm (12-16.5 inches) long.


The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species currently lists the Blackfin gulper shark as Endangered with a decreasing population trend.


Blackfin gulper sharks are targeted by the commercial fishing industry and also taken as bycatch, caught on longlines and in trawls. They are used for their fins, liver oil, meat and fish meal.

References Planet Shark Divers

Sharks and Rays

Rigby, C.L., Ebert, D.A. & Herman, K. 2020. Centrophorus isodon. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T44563A124432455. Accessed on 03 September 2022.

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