Japanese Spurdog: Squalus japonicus

Family: Squalidae
Common name(s)

Japanese Spurdog, Japanese Dogfish.


A slender squaloid shark with a long, narrow pointed snout. Snout length approximately 2x mouth width. Anterior nasal flaps split into two points. Two dorsal fins with anterior spines. First dorsal spine roughly half the length of fin anterior margin. First dorsal fin origin slightly posterior to free pectoral fin insertion. Second dorsal approximately .7x height of first dorsal fin. Spine on second dorsal fin longer and more curved than spine on first dorsal fin. Pectoral fins have rounded free rear tips.
Dorsal coloration grey, reddish grey, or brownish-grey and unmarked but fin tips may be somewhat dusky. Ventrum pale.


Maximum length 95cm. Size at birth 19-30cm.

Japanese spurdog, Squalus japonicus, Chiba prefecture, Honshu, Japan, Northwest Pacific Ocean

Conservation Status


The Japanese Spurdog (Squalus japonicus) is a retained bycatch component of trawl, longline, and gillnet fisheries. It is utilized for human consumption and fish meal. In Japan, the popukation is relatively stable, but landings data of all sharks combined from Taiwan, China, and South Korea indicate declines of 52–99% over the past six decades.
The Japanese Spurdog mostly occurs in Taiwan, China, and South Korea where fishing pressure is highest. Recent bans on inshore trawl and gillnet fishing in Taiwan and China, may help relieve some fishing pressure. Bottom trawl fisheries in Japan are also decreasing.

Japanese spurdog, Squalus japonicus, Chiba prefecture, Honshu, Japan, Northwest Pacific Ocean

The Japanese Spurdog is a deepwater species occuring on the continental shelf and upper slope. From 52m to at least 400m depth.


Northwest Pacific Ocean. The Japanese spurdog is restricted to Japan, Korea, China, and Taiwan. Records from the Philippines are probably misidenfications of the Western longnosed spurdog Squalus nasutus.


An aplacental viviparous species. Litter size 2-8.


Probably feeds on bony fishes and invertebrates.



Reaction to divers

Unknown but probably very shy. The Japanese spurdog occurs in water deeper than 50m. Therefore, encounters with recreational divers are unlikely.

Diving logistics

There are no records of Japanese divers seeing this species while on scuba but it may be possible to attract this species into recreational depths by baiting near drop offs close to recreational limits.

Similar species

North Pacific Spiny Dogfish Distinguished by white spots on lateral line, shorter snout, and longer fin spines.

Mandarin Dogfish Distinguished by extremely long nasal barbells.

Taiwan Spurdog Distinguished by black posterior margins on dorsal fins.

The Shark Forum

Let’s talk about sharks


Shark Photography
Shark Diving
Shark Science