Prickly Dogfish (Oxynotus bruniensis)

A juvenile prickly dogfish (Oxynotus bruniensis) caught off of New Zealand. (Image Copyright: thevoiceofsue.wordpress.com/CC-BY-NC-ND)

A juvenile prickly dogfish (Oxynotus bruniensis) caught off of New Zealand. (Image Copyright: thevoiceofsue.wordpress.com/CC-BY-NC-ND)

There are some shark species that look nothing like our stereotypical image of sharks. This is one of them.

This is the prickly dogfish (Oxynotus bruniensis), and beyond saying that it is very strange-looking, there is actually not much else known about this species nor other members of the Family Oxynotidae, the roughsharks.

Roughsharks and the prickly dogfish are named for their very rough skin. You can see these large skin denticles by zooming in on this photo at The Voice of Sue blog.

The prickly dogfish has been collected from waters off of New Zealand and southern Australia, most often in depths 1,150 feet (350 m) to 2,130 feet (650 m). The maximum recorded length of prickly dogfish is about 2.3 feet (72 cm).

An illustration of a prickly dogfish (Oxynotus bruniensis) from a 1913 record from the  Australia Department of Trade and Customs. (Image Source: http://www.archive.org/details/fisherieszoologi02aust)

An illustration of a prickly dogfish (Oxynotus bruniensis) from a 1913 record from the Australia Department of Trade and Customs. (Image Source: http://www.archive.org/details/fisherieszoologi02aust)

So little is known about the species that the IUCN, an international conservation organization, ranks its conservation status as “data deficient” — not enough data is available to discern whether this species is dwindling or has stable populations.

Discovered in 1893, yet still a mystery today. What else is out there in our oceans? What more do we still have to learn about its creatures?

A prickly dogfish swims by Pisces V at Rumble V volcano. (Image Credit: New Zealand-American Submarine Ring of Fire 2005 Exploration, NOAA Vents Program)

A prickly dogfish swims by Pisces V at Rumble V volcano. (Image Credit: New Zealand-American Submarine Ring of Fire 2005 Exploration, NOAA Vents Program)

Oxynotus bruniensis (Ogilby, 1893)
Prickly Dogfish
Click for name etymology (ETYFish Project)
Click for names in other languages (FishBase)

Class Chondrichthyes (Cartilaginous Fishes)
Order Squaliformes (Dogfish Sharks)
Family Oxynotidae (Roughsharks)

FishBase Page: http://www.fishbase.org/summary/715

– Ben Young Landis

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