The velvet belly lantern shark, Etmopterus spinax, is a species of dogfish shark and one of the most common deepwater sharks in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean. It is a small shark that rarely grows more than 18 inches long,with a stout body, a long snout and tail, and small gill slits. The velvet belly lantern shark has a distinctive black belly which gives it is name of velvet belly, and is bioluminescent, with light-emitting photophores on its sides and abdomen. It is believed that the bioluminescence camouflages the shark, and also is involved in social interactions. They live in the eastern Atlantic, Mediterranean, and as far south as the coast of northern South Africa, and are one of the most abundant of sharks in these areas. Young velvet belly lantern sharks feed on krill and small bony fish, adults on, crustaceans, squid and shrimp as they grow larger.