Animal Database

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Animal Database
Animal Database
Southern Sleeper Shark
Common Name Whitley's Sleeper Shark
Range Southern Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. It is known from depths of 400 to 1,100 m.
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Chondrichthyes
Order Squaliformes
Family Somniosidae
Genus Somniosus
Species S. antarcticus
Conservation Status
Data Deficient

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. It is known from depths of 400 to 1,100 m. Its length is up to 4.4 m (14 ft). It feeds primarily on cephalopods, especially the colossal squid, and fish; its stomach contents also less commonly contain remains of marine mammals and birds. Based on its generally sluggish nature and the speed of its prey, it is thought to be an ambush predator. 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.

This fish was formerly sometimes viewed as conspecific with either the greenland shark, or the pacific sleeper shark. However, it was shown in 2004 to be a distinct species.