Summary of Goblin Sharks, Mitsukurina owstoni Jordan 1898

Thanks to Dave Ebert, Charlott Stenberg, and Victor Lin for information and/or photos. General information with distribution map.
List of captive specimens only.

Photo/ID Date Location Sex TL (m) W (kg) PCL (m) Comments and Reference
  < 2003 Tokyo Submarine Canyon M 0.817     Yano et al. (2003), AES abtract Manaus, Brazil.
65 males (817-2085 mm) were examined.
None were mature.Collected at 100-350 m deptth.
  < 2003 Tokyo Submarine Canyon F 0.928     Yano et al. (2003), AES abtract Manaus, Brazil.
56 females (928-1961) were examined.
None were mature. Collected at 100-350 m deptth.
MoFeb2016.png 03 Feb 2016 Surugay Bay, Japan M ~1.0    

A goblin shark was caught alive Suruga Bay, Japan on 3rd February will be displayed at Numazu Deepsea Aquarium. It is a male and about a meter long, captured in about 100 meter deep water. According to the manager of the aquarium, the longest record for captivity of this species was about a week.
Thanks to Vic Lyn for info.

      F 1.007     Stewart and Clark (1988). Was smallest specimen before Yano et al. (2003) above.
      M 1.070     Compagno (2001), FAO catalogue. Mitsukrina owstoini Jordan, 1898. Holotype: Zoological Museum University of Tokyo. 107 cm immature male, near Yokohama, Japan in deep water. Holotype lost, according to Eschemeyer (1998, Cat. Fish,:CD-ROM)
goblinTaChi.jpg 2005 Ta Chi, Taiwan   ~1.1    

Dave Ebert personal commincation.
T he specimen in this picture that we saw in Taiwan measured ~110 cm TL.

1731-73.jpg 1984?   M 1.15 2.73?  

Charlott Stenberg personal communication.
Captive specimen. It stayed alive for 48 h.
Yanagisawa has written some small papers in Japanese about it. One called "Beahaviour of the goblin shark Scapanorhynchus owstoni in the aquarium". I think it was caught in 1984, but I'm not sure. Here is the URL:

AMNH-00004SW     F 1.155     Compagno (2001), FAO catalogue. Scapanorhynchus jordani Hussakof, 1907. Syntypes (2): American Museum of Natural History, AMNH-00004SW, jaws, model on display from 1300 mm female; 1155 mm female. Type locality, Japan
ORI 2348
Nov. 1966 West of Cape Town F 1.160    

Bass et al. 1975. ORI IR No. 39. Taken at a depth of 549 m in a trawl west of Cape Town, Nov 1966. Photo of jaws.

      M 1.193     Stewart and Clark (1988).
MoMar27_2007.jpg 27 Mar 2007 Outer Tokyo Bay at 250 m depth M 1.20     Goblin shark caught again!
Tokyo Sea Life Park, Apr 05, 2007
AMNH-00004SW     F 1.300     Compagno (2001), FAO catalogue. Scapanorhynchus jordani Hussakof, 1907. Syntypes (2): American Museum of Natural History, AMNH-00004SW, jaws, model on display from 1300 mm female; 1155 mm female. Type locality, Japan
Goblin02Feb2007.jpg 07 Feb 2007 Tokyo Bay M ~1.3     Rarely seen 'living fossil' shark caught off Tokyo Wed Feb 7, 12:22 PM ET
A goblin shark -- a rarely seen species often called a "living fossil" -- was caught alive in Tokyo Bay but died after being put on display, an aquarium said. The grey, long-nosed shark was caught in fishermen's nets around 150 to 200 metres (500 to 650 feet) deep. It was discovered by officials of the Tokyo Sea Life Park when they took a boat with local fishermen on January 25. "We were able to bring it to the aquarium alive and show it to the public," said an official at the park. But the shark died on the morning of January 27. "Dead goblin sharks are caught from time to time, but it is rarely seen alive. We were able to document the way the shark swims. After it died, we dissected the specimen for further studies," he said. The shark was about 1.3 metres long. Resembling pre-historic sharks, goblin sharks live on deep sea bottoms. Little is known about their lives.
Two videos!
    New Zealand  


    Duffy, C. A. J. (1997). Further records of the goblin shark, Mitsukurina owstoni (Lamniformes: Mitsukurinidae), from New Zealand. Three specimen are described.
      F 2.100     Compagno (2001), FAO catalogue. Scapanorhynchus dofleini Engelhardt, 1912. Holotype: Zoologische Staatssammlung Muenchen, 2,100 mm female, Mayegawa, Sagami Sea, Japan. Localitiy of holotype unknown according to Eschmeyer (1998: CD-ROM).
      F 2.350     Stewart and Clark (1988).
USNM 50972     M 2.64     Fowler (1941).
Smallest mature male
GoblinSharkU&S1999.jpg 20 Oct 1998 Off San Clemente Island, California (32-45'N, 118-13'W M ~2.7 est     Ugoretz, J. K. and Seigel, J. A. (1999). First Eastern Pacific Record of the Goblin Shark, Mitsukurina owstoni (Lamniformes: Mitsukurinidae). California Fish and Game 85, 118-120.
Caught in a drift gill net set 13 km off San Clemente Island, CA by the commercial swordfish and shark fishing vessel GOLD COAST. Due to storage limitation on the boat, the goblin shark's body was discarded. The fisherman estimated the shark's total length (TL) as 2.7 m.
GoblinJawsHenry3.jpg April 2003 Taiwan   ~3.0     Goblin shark came from same batch described below. Jaws were prepared by Victor Lin and kindly given to H.F. Mollet. Tooth formula 26-26/23-1-1-22. Lower #8 on right counting from symphisis shows file splitting. (Rows and files definiton)
Goblin02.JPG April 2003 Taiwan   3.05 160-170   The shark in the photo was slightly over 10' including the snout and weighed 160-170 kg. The fishermen caught 6 or 7 specimens at an undisclosed location in their 20+ days of fishing in April 2003. All were of similiar size. They caught a couple more a few days later but not a single one was caught in the next 19 months (to December 2004) .
      M 3.20     Mature male (Compagno 2001, FAO Species Catalogue No.1 Vol.2 p. 70)
      F 3.35    

Smallest mature female (Compagno 2001, FAO Species Catalogue No.1 Vol.2 p. 70)

  30 Jul 2004 Tasmania M 3.84 210  

Stevens and Paxton (1985). The largest of 3 specimens was 384 cm total length.
The hefty goblin shark was found by commercial fishermen Chris Shearer and Sam Smart in their Friday catch. The shark had come from a depth of about 500 m.

        4-5     Collections
The Goblin Shark tank contains two fish. The submerged shark on the right side of the image has its jaws retracted. The shark in the foreground has its jaws protruded. The two specimens (originally 4-5 m in length) were collected at a depth of 1000 m off southern New South Wales.
MoGulfOfMexico01.jpg 25 Jul 2000 Gulf of Mexico F 5.4-6.2     Parsons, Ingram and Havard (2002)., First record of the goblin shark Mitsukurina owstoni, (Familie Mitsukuriindidae in the Gulf of Mexico. Southeastern Naturalist Volume: 1 Issue: 2 Pages: 189-192.
: A goblin shark, Mitsukurina owstoni (family Mitsukurinidae), was captured in
the northern Gulf of Mexico at 28 44.62' N, 88 34.13' W on 25 July 2000. The shark was captured by commercial fishers at 919 to 1,099 meters depth after it became entangled in fishing gear. The shark was female, the gut was empty, and no pups were present. Using regression analysis, the length was estimated to be 540 to 617 cm total length and may be the largest specimen collected to date. This capture from the Gulf of Mexico extends the goblin shark's range into the Atlantic waters of North America.

Photo Date Location Sex TL (m) W (kg) PCL (m) Comments

Created April 2002; updated Feb 2016. Back to previous page
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