Portuguese dogfish (Centroscymnus coelolepis)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.Map Help



The Portuguese dogfish Centroscymnus coelolepis can reach 1.2 m in length. It is uniformly dark chocolate brown to golden brown in color. Like similar species it has no anal fin and the pelvic fins are positioned far back under the second dorsal. It can be identified by its short, stocky appearance and its very short snout. Its body, unlike similar species, does not taper abruptly from the pectoral region. It also has very small spines on both its dorsal fins. The tail is short but broad and the rear edge of its upper lobe is notched.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Found off the western coasts of Ireland and Scotland as far north as the Shetland Isles.

Global distribution



The Portuguese dogfish is a bathydemersal species found on continental shelves and abyssal plains from a depth of 150 m down to over 3000 m.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Up to 1.2 m in length.
  • Uniform dark to golden brown colour.
  • Stocky build with very short snout.
  • Doesn't taper abruptly from pectoral fin.
  • Small spines on either dorsal fin.

Additional information

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  1. Clarke, M.W., Connolly, P.L. & Bracken, J.J., 2001. Aspects of reproduction of the deep water sharks Centroscymnus coelolepis and Centrophorus squamosus from west of Ireland and Scotland. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 81, 1019-1029.

  2. Compagno, L.J.V., 1984. FAO species catalogue. Vol. 4. Sharks of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Part 1 - Hexanchiformes to Lamniformes. FAO Fisheries Synopsies, 125, 1-249

  3. Froese, R. & Pauly, D., 2007. Fishbase. A global information system on fishes. [On-line] http://www.fishbase.org, 2008-02-18

  4. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]


  1. NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from: https://www.nbnatlas.org.

  2. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2024. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. www.iobis.org. Accessed: 2024-05-18


This review can be cited as:

Barnes, M.K.S. 2008. Centroscymnus coelolepis Portuguese dogfish. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 18-05-2024]. Available from: https://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/69

Last Updated: 25/03/2008