Biscoito, Manuel, Ribeiro, Cláudia & Freitas, Mafalda, 2018, Annotated checklist of the fishes of the archipelago of Madeira (NE Atlantic): I-Chondrichthyes, Zootaxa 4429 (3), pp. 459-494: 488

publication ID


publication LSID


persistent identifier


treatment provided by


scientific name



Family Squalidae 

Squalus acanthias Linnaeus, 1758  —No common name in Madeira; Piked dogfish 

Bowdich 1825: 74–75 (as Spinax acanthias  )

Noronha & Sarmento 1934: 135 (as Acanthias acanthias  )

Belloc 1934: 140 | Fowler 1936: 69 | Albuquerque 1954 –56: 115 | Cadenat & Blache 1981: 47–48 | McEachran & Branstetter 1984: 146 | Sanches 1986: 78 | Lloris et al, 1991: 239 | Carneiro et al. 2014: 13.

Distribution in Macaronesia. Azores ( Santos et al.1997; Arruda 1997) and Canary Islands ( Brito et al. 2002; Brito Hernández & Sancho Rafel 2003).

Remarks. Bowdich (1825) seems to be the original source of all subsequent references of this species to the archipelago of Madeira. In his account (pp.74–75) he says “Two dead sharks (the spinax acanthias  and scymnus licha  ) lay on the beach;” (referring to the beach of Porto Santo). It is improbable that two fishes ( Squalus acanthias  and Dalatias licha  ), occurring in such different habitats had been abandoned together by fisherman. The report of D. licha  indicates that we are probably in the presence of a discard of the fishery for the black scabbard fish, where this species is sometimes caught as a by catch. On the other hand there are no records of a Squalus  being caught the same way until now. Moreover, the name Spinax  has been used in the past to identify members of the genus Etmopterus  ( Etmopteridae  ), which in the present case makes sense, as these species occur in the same habitat and are usually caught the same way as D. licha  . Not having access to the specimens seen by Bowdich, one cannot confirm his identifications, but in view of the above and since no specimens or other material from Madeira were found in natural history museum collections in Funchal and elsewhere, we propose that this species should be excluded from the list of Chondrichthyans of Madeira.