Tags: Taxonomy,  Frilled Sharks 

Frilled Sharks

Order: Chlamydoselachiformes

Frilled sharks, a long, skinny shark that looks like an eel, are among the oldest living species of sharks. Fossil evidence dates frilled sharks to 95 million years ago. Some paleontologists suggest it is a living cladodont shark, a shark that existed as long ago as 380 million years.

Frilled sharks are so unusual that the 2 known species, the Frilled Shark and the Southern African Frilled Shark, are placed by some biologists in their own order (as we do, here). Historically, Frilled sharks have been considered a Family within the order of Hexanchiformes, or Cow sharks. Frilled sharks have a long, thin body followed by a long tail fin. It has six gill slits which are covered with the frilly skin that gives it its name.

Photo Gallery

See the rare and unusual frilled sharks

Characteristics of Frilled Sharks

# of Species

2
Body shape
Long, thin, eel-like. Grows to 6.5 feet
Mouth position
Terminal mouth (mouth at the front), blunt snout
Anal fin
Yes
Dorsal Fin
1, far to the back of the shark
Fin spines
No
# of Gill slits
6. Gills covered with frilly collars
Reproduction
Viviparous, giving birth to 8 to 12 live young at a time.
Gestation is long, although it is not known how long,
with estimates running from 1 to as long as 3.5 years!
Unique qualities
Eel-like shape; 3-cusped teeth; frilly growth on gills
Habitat
Deep marine waters, from 200 to 4,200 feet deep.
Most Frilled sharks are found in waters around Japan,
but are known in the Eastern Pacific, Eastern Atlantic
and Indian Oceans. A newly identified species is in waters
around Africa.
Food
Mostly deep sea squid bony fish

The 2 Species of Frilled Shark

Species

Common name

Chlamydoselachus anguineus

Frilled Shark

Chlamydoselachus sp. A

Southern African Frilled Shark

 

Red indicates inclusion on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species

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