Animal Species:Frill Shark, Chlamydoselachus anguineus Garman, 1884

The Frill Shark has a long slender eel-like body and a large mouth.  It lives in continental slope waters where it feeds in caves and crevices.

Standard Common Name

Frill Shark

Alternative Name/s

Frill-gilled Shark


The Frill Shark can be recognised by its slender eel-like body, six pairs of gill slits, terminal mouth, three-pronged teeth, single dorsal fin, caudal fin without a lower lobe, and brown colour.

The jaws can be opened very wide. Little effort was required to open the mouth wide enough to take the photographs of  the upper and lower jaws on this page.

The Frill Shark's teeth at the margins of the jaw are gradually replaced by those behind. The teeth have three long cusps with a tiny cusplet at the base of each "V" formed by the the large cusps.

Chlamydoselachus anguineus is the only living species in the Family Chlamydoselachidae.

Size range

The species grows to a maximum length of about 2 m.


In Australia, the species has been caught from off New South Wales and Tasmania.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information.  Source: Atlas of Living Australia.

Chlamydoselachus anguineus

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Frill Shark specimens in the Australian Museums.

What does this mean?


It occurs in oceanic waters at depths from 120 m to 1500 m.

Feeding and Diet

According to Last and Stevens (1994), the few stomach contents that have been examined included other elasmobranchs (sharks and rays). The species has been reported to feed in caves and crevices on the continental slope.

Mating and reproduction

During mating, one clasper is inserted into the body of the female Frill Shark to facilitate sperm transfer.



What does this mean?


  1. Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.
  2. Last, P.R. & J.D. Stevens. 1994. Sharks and Rays of Australia. CSIRO. Pp. 513, Pl. 1-84.
  3. Stevens, J. & P.R. Last in Paxton, J.R. & W.N. Eschmeyer (Eds). 1994. Encyclopedia of Fishes. Sydney: New South Wales University Press. Pp. 240.


Mark McGrouther , Senior Fellow
Last Updated:

Tags Fishes, ichthyology, Frill Shark, Chlamydoselachus anguineus, Chlamydoselachidae, brown, eel-like, > 1m, marine, adult, wide mouth, three-pronged teeth, single dorsal fin, six pairs of gill slits, terminal mouth,