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Title: Somniosidae  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Squaliformes, Centroscymnus, Scymnodalatias, Roughskin dogfish, Azores dogfish
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Sleeper sharks
Somniosus sp.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Subclass: Elasmobranchii
Order: Squaliformes
Family: Somniosidae
D. S. Jordan, 1888
6 genera, 20 species; See text.

Somniosidae is a family of sharks in the order Squaliformes, commonly known as sleeper sharks.[1]


  • Distribution and habitat 1
  • Diet 2
  • Genera and species 3
  • Hákarl 4
  • References 5

Distribution and habitat

Somniosidae can be found in the following areas:

  • Arctic to subantarctic waters
  • all oceans
  • shelves in cold waters
  • continental and slopes
  • temperate and tropical waters[2]


Beaks recovered from the stomachs of sleeper sharks suggest that these sharks feed on Colossal squid.[3]

Genera and species


Greenland sharks or basking sharks of the family Somniosidae are hunted for food in Iceland. The shark carcass is traditionally fermented in a shallow pit, with stones placed on top of the shark, allowing poisonous internal fluids, like urea and trimethylamine oxide, to be pressed and drained out of the body. The meat is then cured for several months, rendering it safe for human consumption.[4]


  1. ^ Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2011). "Somniosidae" in FishBase. February 2011 version.
  2. ^ "Family Somniosidae - Sleeper sharks". Fish Base. Retrieved 29 December 2012. 
  3. ^ Cherel, Y. & G. Duhamel 2004. Antarctic jaws: cephalopod prey of sharks in Kerguelen waters. PDF (531 KB) Deep-Sea Research I 51: 17–31.
  4. ^ Wheatley, Gale (20 September 2010). "Iceland's Wild Culinary Traditions: Hákarl and Brennivín". 

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