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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Goblin Shark Mitsukurina owstoni

One of the strangest-looking of all deep-water sharks, the goblin shark is pale pink, with a flabby body, tiny eyes, and a long, flattened, bill-like snout. This strange projection is covered in electroreceptors and is probably used to detect prey in the inky depths.

Beneath the snout, the goblin shark has specialized jaws that can be shot forward to grab fish and octopuses using long, pointed teeth. Not very much else is known about the goblin shark except that it gives birth to live young and after death changes from pinkish to a dirty, brownish gray color.

Only a few dozen goblin sharks have officially been caught, and this species is thought to be rare. Most data has come from sharks caught by boats fishing for deep-water fish using long lines. Fossils of sharks very similar to the goblin shark have been found in rocks over 100 million years old.

Learn more about Oceana's campaign to protect sharks.

Goblin Shark habitat mapzoom image
  • Order Lamniformes
  • Length Up to 12 ft (3.9 m)
  • Weight Up to 460 lb (210 kg)
  • Depth 1,000–4,300 ft (300–1,300 m)
  • Distribution Not fully known, but thought to be in temperate and tropical waters