Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    anguineus
    Genus
    Chlamydoselachus
    Family
    Chlamydoselachidae
    Order
    Hexanchiformes
    Class
    Chondrichthyes
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The species grows to a maximum length of about 2 m.

Introduction

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.

Identification

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.

Habitat

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

Distribution

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

Ozcam map of Frill Shark specimens in the Australian Museums. http://ozcam.ala.org.au/occurrences/search?q=Chlamydoselachus%20anguineus&zoom=off#mapView

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.

Breeding behaviours

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

References

  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.