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Somniosus antarcticus

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Title: Somniosus antarcticus  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Somniosidae, Somniosus, Colossal squid
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Somniosus antarcticus

Southern sleeper shark
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Subclass: Elasmobranchii
Order: Squaliformes
Family: Somniosidae
Genus: Somniosus
Species: S. antarcticus
Binomial name
Somniosus antarcticus
Whitley, 1939
Range of the southern sleeper shark (in blue)
Sharks portal

The southern sleeper shark or Whitley's sleeper shark, Somniosus antarcticus, is a deepwater benthopelagic sleeper shark of the family Somniosidae found in the southern Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans.[1] It is known from depths of 400 to 1,100 m.[1][2] Its length is up to 4.4 m (14 ft).[2] It feeds primarily on cephalopods, especially the colossal squid, and fish; its stomach contents also less commonly contain remains of marine mammals and birds.[1] Based on its generally sluggish nature and the speed of its prey, it is thought to be an ambush predator.[1] A 3.6 m (12 ft) female caught off the coast of Chile had a whole southern right whale dolphin in its stomach. This dogfish is sometimes taken as bycatch in the orange roughy and Patagonian toothfish fisheries; whether this poses a threat to the species is currently unknown.[1]

This fish was formerly sometimes viewed as conspecific with either the Greenland shark, Somniosus microcephalus, or the Pacific sleeper shark, Somniosus pacifius. However, it was shown in 2004 to be a distinct species.[3]


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