Southern sleeper shark

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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
Somniosus antarcticus distmap.png
Range of the southern sleeper shark (in blue)

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]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Stevens, J. (2003). "Somniosus antarcticus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 15 February 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2012). "Somniosus antarcticus" in FishBase. February 2012 version.
  3. ^ Yano, K.; Stevens, J. D.; Compagno, L. J. V. (December 2004). "A review of the systematics of the sleeper shark genus Somniosus with redescriptions of Somniosus (Somniosus) antarcticus and Somniosus (Rhinoscymnus) longus (Squaliformes: Somniosidae)". Ichthyological Research (Springer) 51 (4): 360–373. doi:10.1007/s10228-004-0244-4. Retrieved 2012-02-15.