Did you know that there is a shark named Dorian Grey? The Deania calcea has got other strange names, too: Birdbeak dogfish, Platypus Shark, Shovelnose Spiny Dogfish and Brier Shark. Some of them I can understand, but others not.
Do they mean the literary character Dorian Gray (with an a instead of an e)? I hope they don’t compare his picture to the image of this shark – what I know of the story indicates that it looked much more gruesome than this little shark. Its face looks a little like the head of a platypus or the beak of a bird, maybe a shovel, but a thicket (brier)?
Names aside, the birdbeak dogfish is a deep water dogfish living in the Pacific Ocean around Japan, southern Australia, New Zealand, and Chile, and in the Atlantic Ocean from Iceland south to the Cape of Good Hope. It has got a very long, narrow snout and pitchfork-like denticles.
Maturing at 17 years (males) and 25 years (females), it has a longevity of about 35 years and reaches up to 48 in -122 cm- length. The female is ovoviviparous with up to 12 pups per litter.
Usually a mid-slope shark (at depths between 239 ft and 4757 ft -73 and 1,450 m-) on the outer continental and insular shelves, birdbeak dogfish seems to migrate vertically and can be found on the upper slopes, too. Since its liver is high in squalene (about 70% by weight), it is targeted for its liver oil and flesh. Catches in Australia have been increasing in the last few years with relaxation of mercury laws and fishers turning to non-quota species. In 2002 regulations in the South East Trawl fishery in Australia prohibit the landings of livers of all sharks unless the accompanying carcass is also landed.