Squalus griffini 

Scope: Global
Language: English

Translate page into:

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Chondrichthyes Squaliformes Squalidae

Scientific Name: Squalus griffini Phillipps, 1931
Common Name(s):
English Northern Spiny Dogfish, Brown Dogfish, Greeneye, Grey Spiny Dogfish, Griffin's Dogfish
Taxonomic Source(s): Eschmeyer, W.N., Fricke, R. and Van der Laan, R. (eds.). 2018. Catalog of Fishes: genera, species, references. Updated 29 March 2018. Available at:
Taxonomic Notes:

The Northern Spiny Dogfish (Squalus griffini) is a member of the S. mitsukurii species complex (‘mitsukurii-group’).

Garrick (1960) reviewed the Australasian species of Squalus and incorrectly synonymised S. griffini and S. fernandinus Molina, 1782 (sensu Bigelow and Schroeder 1948, 1957) with S. blainvillii (incorrect spelling of S. blainville (Risso, 1827), Eschmeyer 1998). Garrick recognised S. acanthias and S. blainville from New Zealand, and S. acanthias, S. blainville and S. megalops from Australia. Squalus blainville was thought to be widespread in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans (Bigelow and Schroeder 1948, 1957; Garrick 1960). Chen et al. (1979) subsequently defined S. blainville from Japan as a species with high dorsal fins and long dorsal-fin spines. They observed that Squalus, referred to S. fernandinus and S. blainville by Bigelow and Schroeder (1948) and Garrick (1960) had short dorsal-fin spines and were more similar to S. mitsukurii from Japan, and suggested that nominal S. blainville from New Zealand could be identical to S. mitsukurii. Compagno (1984) also noted that dogfishes resembling S. mitsukurii occurred off Australia and New Zealand, and did not recognise S. blainville from the Southern Hemisphere. As a consequence this species was widely synonymised with S. mitsukurii (Paulin et al. 1989, Yano in Amaoka et al. 1990, Roberts 1991, Paul and Heath 1997, Cox and Francis 1997, Anderson et al. 1998, Compagno et al. 2005). Last and Stevens (1994) provisionally mapped New Zealand populations as S. mitsukurii but suggested that regional forms may represent a species complex. This species was formally resurrected and re-described by Duffy and Last (2007).

Genetic evidence indicates that a morphologically inseparable taxon occurring on Gascoyne Seamount, Tasman Seamount Chain, is a distinct species (Ward et al. 2007). Sequencing of the barcode region of mtDNA CO1 by Ward et al. (2007) groups this taxon with Squalus chloroculus but it is morphologically distinct from that species. The only specimen of this taxon is NMNZ P.38327.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2010-12-10
Assessor(s): Duffy, C.A.J.
Reviewer(s): Ebert, D.A. & Kyne, P.M.
The Northern Spiny Dogfish (Squalus griffini) was previously assessed as Near Threatened, coming near to (if not actually) meeting Vulnerable Criterion A2 and possibly A3+A4, as the New Zealand subpopulation of Squalus mitsukurii. The species’ “relatively restricted, disjunct distribution”, the assumption that it was fished throughout its range and the absence of management measures were given as reasons why it met the Criteria. Taxonomic revision of Australasian Squalus has since clarified the status and distribution of the Northern Spiny Dogfish, showing it to be widely distributed around North and South Islands of New Zealand, as well as on the seamounts and ridges north of New Zealand. Large parts of this distribution are not fished or are subject to only light fishing pressure; and although dogfishes of the S. mitsukurii species complex are particularly vulnerable to overfishing, the Northern Spiny Dogfish remains a widespread and relatively common species. There are no directed fisheries for this species and reported commercial catch and landings are small. No range contraction has been observed and unstandardised CPUE in the fishery reporting most of the catch has remained stable for at least 17 years (generation time likely to be ≥14 years). Research trawl surveys off the west coast of South Island show no trends in relative biomass. Although the Northern Spiny Dogfish is assessed here as Least Concern, experience with related species elsewhere indicates that it is unlikely this taxon could support a large directed fishery. If such a fishery were to develop this taxon could rapidly qualify for a higher category. Further information and the investigation of commercial landings and catch is warranted to determine the significance of non- and misreporting on the accuracy of catch-effort data for this species.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The Northern Spiny Dogfish is distributed on the New Zealand continental shelf north of the Subtropical Front, including Chatham Rise and Challenger Plateau. Also occurs north of New Zealand on Wanganella Bank and Norfolk Ridge (to at least Norfolk Island), Kermadec Ridge (to at least Raoul Island, 29°S) and the Louisville Ridge.
Countries occurrence:
New Zealand (Chatham Is., Kermadec Is.)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Pacific – southwest
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):700
Upper depth limit (metres):15
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


The Chatham Islands population of the Northern Spiny Dogfish appears to be isolated, as may be some populations occurring on ridges and seamounts but population structure in this species is unstudied.

Un-standardised annual catch-per-unit-effort (CPUE) in the main commercial set net fisheries is stable, whereas bottom longline CPUE in the same areas suggests local depletion may be occurring. Large parts of the species’ distribution are unfished or only lightly commercially fished. Research trawl surveys off the west coast of South Island show no trends in relative biomass (Cavanagh and Lisney 2003).

Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

The Northern Spiny Dogfish is common on the outer shelf and upper slope, occurring close to the bottom over reefs and soft sediments from 15 m to at least 700 m depth; generally most abundant at 50 to 300 m depth. Nominal records from greater than 700 m depth require confirmation as below 400 m depth this species’ distribution overlaps that of a larger, undescribed species.

Females reach at least 110 cm total length (TL) and males at least 89.8 cm TL. Males mature between 69–76 cm TL; smallest pregnant female 86.5 cm TL, largest immature female 90 cm TL. Size at birth about 27 cm TL. Litter size 6–11, usually 7–8. Gestation period unknown. Age and growth unknown. Life history traits are likely to be similar to those of other mitsukurii-group dogfishes (Taniuchi and Tachikawa 1999, Obara et al. 2008).

Diet includes demersal fishes, cephalopods and decapod crustaceans.


Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade:

The Northern Spiny Dogfish is utilized primarily as byproduct for meat and fins. Reported commercial landings were between 84,000 kg and 95,000 kg per annum (p.a.) during the 2001/02–2003/04 fishing years but have been consistently lower since then, averaging only 46,114 kg (± 2,436 s.e.) p.a. (range 37,810–55,869 kg p.a.) (NZ Fisheries Infosite: The proportions exported and consumed domestically are unknown. Levels of discarding and non-reporting are unknown but may be high in some fisheries.

One of a number of small to moderate-sized inshore shark species exploited for their meat and liver oil by pre- and early post-European settlement Maori.   

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

Dogfishes of the Squalus mitsukurii species complex have proved to be particularly vulnerable to overfishing (Wilson and Seki 1994, Cavanagh and Lisney 2003). Catch-effort data for the fishing years 1992/93 (first year of reliable data) to 2008/09 indicate 97% of the commercial catch of Northern Spiny Dogfish is taken by set net (59%), bottom longline (33%) and bottom trawl (5%). Directed fishing for this species accounts for only 4.6% of the total estimated commercial catch recorded on Catch Effort Landing Return (CELR) forms since 1989/90, and no directed take has been reported since the end of the 1998/99 fishing year. 

Unstandardised annual CPUE in the main set net (SN) fisheries shows no trend from 1992/93 to 2008/09, although a 68% decline in bottom longline (BLL) CPUE since 2000/01 in the same areas suggests local depletion (probably on deepwater reef habitats) may be occurring.

Most (68%) of the estimated commercial SN and BLL catch reported on CELR forms comes from the west coast of the North Island and northwest South Island (Statistical Areas 036, 037, 040, 041, 042), suggesting this species does not form a major component of the catch elsewhere within its range. The extent of non-reporting and discarding is unknown. The proportion of the catch misreported as Spiny Dogfish (S. acanthias) is unknown.

No bottom trawling, set netting or bottom longlining occurs on the Kermadec and Colville Ridges. Trawling on other ridges and seamounts located north of North Island New Zealand is predominantly conducted in mid-water for Orange Roughy (Hoplostethus atlanticus) and generally occurs below the preferred depth range of this species. 

Catch-effort data were provided by the Data Management Group, NZ Ministry of Fisheries –  Rep. Log 7957, 7983A.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: No commercial catch limits have been set for the Northern Spiny Dogfish.

Classifications [top]

9. Marine Neritic -> 9.2. Marine Neritic - Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs
suitability:Suitable  major importance:No
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.3. Marine Neritic - Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel
suitability:Suitable  major importance:No
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.4. Marine Neritic - Subtidal Sandy
suitability:Suitable  major importance:No
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.5. Marine Neritic - Subtidal Sandy-Mud
suitability:Suitable  major importance:No
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.6. Marine Neritic - Subtidal Muddy
suitability:Suitable  major importance:No
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.7. Marine Neritic - Macroalgal/Kelp
suitability:Suitable  major importance:No
11. Marine Deep Benthic -> 11.1. Marine Deep Benthic - Continental Slope/Bathyl Zone (200-4,000m) -> 11.1.1. Hard Substrate
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
11. Marine Deep Benthic -> 11.1. Marine Deep Benthic - Continental Slope/Bathyl Zone (200-4,000m) -> 11.1.2. Soft Substrate
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
11. Marine Deep Benthic -> 11.5. Marine Deep Benthic - Seamount
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.1. Harvest management
4. Education & awareness -> 4.2. Training
4. Education & awareness -> 4.3. Awareness & communications

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.4. Unintentional effects: (large scale) [harvest]
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Unknown ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.3. Indirect ecosystem effects
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.2. Harvest level trends

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓   National : ✓  International : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Amaoka, K., Matsuura, K., Inada,T., Takeda, M., Hatanaka, H. and Okada, K. Editors. 1990. Fishes collected by the R/V Shinkai Maru around New Zealand. Japan Marine Fishery Resource Research Center., Tokyo, 410 pp.

Anderson, O.F., Bagley, N.W., Hurst, R.J., Francis, M.P., Clark, M.R. and McMillan, P.J. 1998. Atlas of New Zealand fish and squid distributions from research bottom trawls. NIWA Technical Report 42. NIWA, Wellington. 303 pp.

Ayling, T. and Cox, G.J. 1982. Collins Guide to the Sea Fishes of New Zealand. Collins, Auckland. 343 pp.

Bigelow, H.B.; Schroeder, W.C. 1948. Fishes of the Western North Atlantic. Part One. Lancelets, Cyclostomes, Sharks. Memoir of the Sears Foundation for Marine Research, Number 1. Sears Foundation for Marine Research, New Haven. 576 pp.

Cavanagh, R. D., Lisney, T. J. 2003. Shortspine (Greeneye) Spurdog Squalus mitsukurii Jordan & Snyder, in Jordan & Fowler. In: Cavanagh, R. D., Kyne, P. M., Fowler, S. L., Musick, J. A., Bennett, M. B (ed.), The conservation status of Australian Chondrichthyans: report of the IUCN Shark Specialist Group Australia and Oceania Regional Red List Workshop. The University of Queensland, School of Biomedical Sciences, Brisbane, x + 170 pp.

Chen, C., Taniuchi, T. and Nose, Y. 1979. Blainville’s dogfish, Squalus blainville, from Japan, with notes on S. mitsukurii and S. japonicus. Japanese Journal of Ichthyology 26: 26–44.

Compagno, L., Dando, M. and Fowler, S. 2005. A field guide to the sharks of the world. Harper Collins Publishers Ltd., London.

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. FAO Fisheries Synopsis No. 125, Volume 4, Part 1.

Cox, G. and Francis, M. 1997. Sharks and rays of New Zealand. Canterbury University Press, Christchurch.

Duffy, C.A.J. and Last, P.R. 2007. Redescription of the Spiny Dogfish Squalus griffini Phillipps, 1931 from New Zealand, p. 91–100. In: Last, P.R., White, W.T. and Pogonoski, J.J (eds), Descriptions of new dogfishes of the genus Squalus (Squaloidea: Squalidae), pp. 130. CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research Paper 014.

Eschmeyer, W.N. 1998. Catalog of fishes: 3 volumes. California Academy of Science, 905 pp.

Garrick, J.A.F. 1960. Studies on New Zealand Elasmobranchii. Part XII - The species of Squalus from New Zealand and Australia; and a general account and key to the New Zealand Squaloidea. Transactions of the Royal Society of New Zealand 88: 519–557.

Garrick, J.A.F. 1961. A note on the spelling of the immaculate spiny dogfish, Squalus blainvillei (Risso, 1826). Transactions of the Royal Society of New Zealand 88: 843.

IUCN. 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2011.2). Available at: (Accessed: 10 November 2011).

IUCN SSC Shark Specialist Group. Specialist Group website. Available at:

Last, P.R. and Stevens, J.D. 1994. Sharks and Rays of Australia. First Edition. CSIRO Division of Fisheries, Hobart.

Obara,G., Jo,K., Kurita,K., Kojima,T., Taniuchi,T. 2008. Age estimates of four species of chondrichthyans distributed in Tokyo Submarine Canyon through sectioned spines. The proceedings of the 5th World Fisheries Congress 1: 14. Fish Biology. KOJIMA, Takahito.

Paulin, C., Stewart, A., Roberts, C. and McMillan, P. 1989. New Zealand fish: a complete guide. National Museum of New Zealand Miscellaneous Series No. 19. Wellington, GP Books, 279 pp.

Paul, L. 1985. New Zealand Fishes: An Identification Guide. Reed Methuen Publishing Ltd, Auckland, 184p.

Paul, L. and Heath, E. 1997. Marine fishes of New Zealand 2: Deeper coastal and ocean waters. Mobil New Zealand Nature Series. Reed Books, Auckland.

Phillipps, W.J. 1931. New species of Piked Dogfish. The New Zealand Journal of Science and Technology 12: 360–361.

Phillipps, W.J. 1946. Sharks of New Zealand. Dominion Museum Records in Zoology 1: 5–20.

Roberts, C. D. 1991. Fishes of the Chatham Islands, New Zealand: a trawl survey and summary of the ichthyofauna. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 25(1): 1-19.

Taniuchi, T. and Tachikawa, H. 1999. Geographical variation in age and growth of Squalus mitsukurii (Elasmobranchii: Squalidae) in the North Pacific. In: B. Seret, and J.Y. Sire (eds), Proceedings of the 5th Indo-Pacific Fish conference, pp. 321-328. Noumea, New Caledonia.

Ward, R.D., Holmes, B.H., Zemlak, T.S., Smith, P.J. 2007. Part 12 — DNA barcoding discriminates Spurdogs of the genus Squalus, pp. 117–130. In: Last, P.R., White, W.T. and Pogonoski, J.J (eds), Descriptions of new Dogfishes of the genus Squalus (Squaloidea: Squalidae), CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research Paper 014, 130 pp.

Wilson, C.D. and Seki, M.P. 1994. Biology and population characteristics of Squalus mitsukurii from a seamount in the central North Pacific Ocean. Fishery Bulletin 92: 851-864.

Citation: Duffy, C.A.J. 2011. Squalus griffini. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T195487A8973462. . Downloaded on 24 September 2018.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided