Heptranchias perlo Click to enlarge image
A 75 cm long Sharpnose Sevengill Shark trawled during the NORFANZ expedition at a depth between 339m and 344m south of Norfolk Island, May 2003 (CSIRO H6006-10). Image: R. McPhee
© NORFANZ

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    perlo
    Genus
    Heptranchias
    Family
    Hexanchidae
    Order
    Hexanchiformes
    Class
    Chondrichthyes
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    1.4 m

Introduction

The Sharpnose Sevengill Shark has a slender body with a long caudal peduncle. It occurs in tropical and temperate waters, usually at depths between 100m to 400m.



Identification

The Sharpnose Sevengill Shark has a slender body with a long caudal peduncle (glossary). It has a pointed head with large eyes. There are seven pairs of long gill slits and a single dorsal fin. The teeth in the upper jaw have a narrow oblique cusp (glossary) and small lateral cusplets. The lower jaw teeth are shaped like a cockscomb.

The species is brownish to grey above and paler below. The tips of the dorsal and anal fins are dark in juveniles becoming whitish in adults. The eyes are green in life.


Head of a Sharpnose Sevengill Shark
Head of a Sharpnose Sevengill Shark, Heptranchias perlo, in the Ichthyology Laboratory at the Australian Museum. The fish was collected by at Seamount Mt Woolnough, also known as Browns Mountain, New South Wales on 29 June 2015. Image: Mark McGrouther
© Australian Museum

Habitat

It occurs in tropical and temperate continental and insular shelves and upper slope waters usually at depths between 100 m to 400 m. It has however been caught as deep as 1000 m.

Distribution

In Australia it is known from northern Queensland, down the east coast, around the south of the country, including Tasmania and north to off north-western Western Australia.

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.



Life history cycle

See video, above.

References

  1. Last, P.R. & J.D. Stevens. 1994. Sharks and Rays of Australia. CSIRO. Pp. 513, Pl. 1-84.