A new species of spurdog, Squalus formosus n. sp., from the lower continental shelf and upper continental slope off the coast of Taiwan and southern Japan, is described. It belongs to the ‘highfin megalops group’, the members of which share a short snout, high dorsal fins, robust dorsal spines, tricuspid denticles and a white posterior caudal margin. Squalus formosus is most similar to Squalus albifrons, a recently described species from eastern Australia, but differs in some morphological characters and fin colouration. Squalus formosus is sympatric with three other species of Squalus in Taiwanese waters, i.e. Squalus brevirostris, Squalus japonicus and Squalus mitsukurii, and can be readily distinguished from these in the following combination of characters: tall and upright first dorsal fin, with a tall and robust spine, short and bluntly pointed snout, white caudal-fin posterior margin and first dorsal fin with a white anterior margin parallel with dorsal spine. This new species was considered by some authors to be conspecific with Squalus blainville from the eastern Atlantic Ocean, but the results of this study reveal that it is probably endemic to Taiwan and southern Japan.