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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Greenland Shark Somniosus microcephalus

The sluggish Greenland shark has a heavy, cylindrical body that is usually brown or gray. It has a short, rounded snout and two equal-sized dorsal fins. As well as feeding on a variety of live prey, including fish, sea birds, and seals, the Greenland shark is also a scavenger, often eating dead cetaceans and drowned land animals, such as reindeer. It is often caught by hook-and-line at ice holes while it hunts seals, but the Greenland shark's flesh is poisonous and must be boiled several times before it becomes edible.

Greenland Sharkzoom image
  • Order Squaliformes
  • Length 8–14 ft (2.4–4.3 m)
  • Weight Up to 1,710 lb (775 kg)
  • Depth 0–4,000 ft (0–1,200 m)
  • Distribution North Atlantic and Arctic waters
Greenland Shark habitat mapzoom image