The Cookiecutter Shark is a small species of dogfish shark and lives in all warm ocean waters, throughout the world. They appear to be especially prevalent in the vicinity of islands.
The name of this shark comes from their way of feeding. They will gouge small round plugs of flesh out of their prey. This wound appears as if cut by a cookie cutter, hence the name.
Due to their wide distribution, the IUCN lists them as a Species of Least Concern. They have no commercial value to fishermen, and thankfully do not seem to be overly susceptible to commercial fishing methods.
Cookiecutter Shark Physical Characteristics
The Cookiecutter Shark remains an extremely small species of shark. The maximum recorded length of any individual was 22 in (56 cm).
They possess an elongated body, with a bulbous snout. The eyes grow rather large and sit more forward than among most types of sharks. The upper teeth develop small and narrow, and the lower teeth grow larger, wider, and knife-like.
This animal is predominantly a chocolate brown in color. Additionally, the shark also possesses photophores covering most of its underside which create a bright green glow.
Cookiecutter Shark Habitat and Behavior
Though they live in all warm waters, the Cookiecutter Shark is most common in waters where the temperature is between 64-79F (18-26C). In warmer years, this sometimes extends their range as far as California, in the United States, in North America.
They are extremely deep dwellers. During the day they are found at depths of as much as 2.3 mi (3.7 km). At night they rise closer to the surface, yet typically remain below 280 ft (85 m), but will occasionally rise all the way to the surface.
Attacks on humans are rare but do occur. They prey upon virtually any creature, although smaller prey they swallow whole. Larger victims suffer the circular wounds from which their name derives.